After two years of uncertainty, 2022 brought new life and a reimagined path forward for corporate travel. Companies re-evaluated the vital importance of in-person meetings, while the emerging hybrid workforce ushered in new opportunities for expanded business trips (aka “bleisure”).
Although the surge in travel across all segments spawned supply chain issues and staffing shortages that caused travel interruptions, several major restrictions were lifted and improved the traveler experience. Despite the growing pains many travel managers faced, the collective theme from businesses was an eagerness to outline a clear and safe path into a post-pandemic travel future. As you reflect on the year and ready your business for 2023, review these key insights from our most popular articles of 2022:
Shifting info Focus: 2022 Business Travel Forecast
Even though the outlook for 2022 was overshadowed by the struggles of 2021, it proved to be a successful year for travel. Transportation and hospitality companies found relief when healthy forecasts projected a full recovery by 2024. While this travel rebound was welcome news, it also caused major supply chain obstacles and staffing shortages resulting in thousands of canceled flights. Fortunately, as COVID-19 variants evolved and lost potency, the supply chain backlog eased and the economy improved. Although some businesses held back with a “wait and see” approach regarding in-person meetings, many forward-thinking leaders recognized the importance of an informed approach to travel program policy versus a reactive response mode.
How Changes in Standard of Care are Evolving for Post-Pandemic Travel
At the top of the priority list for most organizations throughout 2022 was a renewed focus on risk management. Elevating standard of care in a post-pandemic travel era includes entry and exit requirements, proof of immunization as well as local, regional, and international alerts and notifications. Simply put, standard of care has evolved to include an improved experience geared towards traveler assurance at every checkpoint of the journey. For this reason, we partnered with Crisis24, a GardaWorld company, to increase our risk intelligence network and improve global response capabilities across the board.
Why Responsive TMC Service Should Be a Top Priority for Your Business
As the market fluctuated and travel product demand soared, businesses realized the importance of having a trusted partner to help navigate the new landscape. When re-evaluating travel programs and defining objectives, it’s essential to have a Travel Management Company (TMC) in your corner that consistently delivers responsive support and high-touch service. Your travel management partner should be committed to your company’s growth path and be able to customize products and services that adhere to the size, scope and structure of your business as opposed to a “one size fits all” approach. More than ever, those tasked with managing travel are expected to maximize resources with smaller budgets, further emphasizing the value of a TMC.
Top Tools for Streamlining the New Traveler Journey
The new travel era produced the need for future-forward travel management tools with safety and advanced communication as top priorities. We highlighted these needs with our Traveler Journey Video and focused on our most important tech features. This included our Direct2U mobile app that simplifies travel and helps employees manage their itinerary on-the-go so they can move confidently and seamlessly. We also spotlighted our risk management platform for keeping employees informed about threats and transportation disruptions. Additionally, we pointed out the user-friendly efficiencies within our Travel Intelligence Hub, which pulls from more than 2,000 sources to keep your employees in the know with real-time updates.
5 Reasons Why Travelers Book Out-of-Policy (And How to Mitigate It)
As the year went on and companies made significant changes to travel programs, new policy implications surfaced, especially regarding booking out-of-policy. Just like pre-pandemic, the case for booking compliance remains the same: It strengthens supplier relationships and saves the company money with pre-negotiated and discounted rates. However, COVID also showed the importance of booking within policy regarding support and duty of care. When travel disruptions occur, a trip booked within policy is more likely to be protected by measures that allow a travel manager to intervene and help resolve problems. It’s always wise to book within policy for a secure reservation backed by a solid supplier relationship.
A Travel Program Ally Makes All the Difference
Clearly, the 2022 travel rebound will go down on the books as a momentous if at times frenzied era for corporate travel. The renewed emphasis on in-person meetings to maintain a competitive edge was a major driver of the corporate travel surge and, with a possible recession lurking, we could see another major growth spurt within this segment in 2023. Overall, it was a dynamic year for travel growth and the projections are looking good for the New Year. As you wrap up and reflect onward, we can help prepare your travel program for 2023 and beyond. To learn more about the trends and developments most impacting travel programs, subscribe to our corporate travel newsletter.