A recent survey from the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) and HRS, the leading global corporate travel and payment technology platform, highlighted how changes in workforce and a faster-than-expected return to travel are transforming managed travel. The survey was conducted in late June and respondents were travel managers and procurement leaders from the US, Canada, and parts of Europe.
According to the research, 54 percent of those surveyed say business travel has rebounded faster than expected, while 77 percent report they are spending more time troubleshooting traveler issues.
“The intersection of employee workplace trends and travel management is quite frenetic these days. These realities spur opportunities for forward-thinking finance, human resource, procurement, and travel leaders,” said HRS CEO Tobias Ragge. “Technologies addressing these trends are being launched and refined, with friction-reducing automation improving the everyday experience for employees. How quickly are you examining which solution best works for your workforce while also maximizing your operational budgets? This is the issue we see more frequently in our corporate engagements this year.”
Return of Corporate Travel Meets the Evolving Composition of Travel Departments
- More than half (54 percent) say the acceleration of business travel’s return has occurred “more quickly” or “much more quickly” than they expected at the beginning of the year.
- Nearly four in five (77 percent) say that they spend “more time” or “much more time” troubleshooting traveler issues. More than half (52 percent) reporting taking “more time” or “much more time” analyzing data.
- When asked what skill set they would seek if they could add a new team member, the convergence between customer service and data expertise is evident. Four in ten (40 percent) said customer service skills are in demand, while 35 percent seek data management expertise.
Reshaping the Office?
- Two-thirds (67 percent) believe that once all their offices are open, hybrid work scenarios will dominate. Only nine percent anticipate that all their colleagues will return to the office full time.
- Two in five respondents (40 percent) report that their companies have reduced their office space.
- Nearly two in five respondents (39 percent) say their company is hiring more remote workers than they did prior to the pandemic.
- Almost four of five travel managers (79 percent) say remote working policies boost employee morale, while 72 percent believe these policies help with talent recruitment.
“It’s great to see that business travel is coming back. The vast majority of suppliers and travel management companies continue reporting booking increases each month. But as outlined by the survey, the evolution we’ve seen since the pandemic is driving tremendous change across the business travel ecosystem,” said GBTA CEO Suzanne Neufang. “Travel management teams now have a broader range of issues to address beyond negotiating supplier deals. The C-suite is more likely to promote the digitizing of more processes, implemention of sustainability initiatives, and steps to enhance satisfaction and security. Leaders are adjusting and taking steps to manage programs accordingly.”
Visit gbta.org for more information.