What’s Ahead for Business Travel in 2024

With a new year comes a renewed sense of potential and motivation for growth, and 2024 is no exception. Business travel spending has increased each year since 2020, and according to the Global Business Travel Association, nearly three-quarters of buyers predict that their travel budgets will hold steady or increase in 2024.

Will it simply be a year of smooth sailing, or will some sectors experience their fair share of challenges? The Direct Travel team has compiled a 2024 Forecast that can be downloaded and shared with your team. It features trends, predictions, and actionable steps for travel managers to prepare your corporate travel program for this year and beyond:


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AI is Here to Stay

Although talks of AI advancements are not limited to the travel industry, travel management companies predict there will be even more widespread adoption of Artificial Intelligence in 2024. The primary reason is the rapidly changing landscape of customer expectations and market dynamics.

Our whitepaper tackles this topic and how businesses have moved beyond a siloed service model, favoring an omnichannel approach backed by AI. We also take a look at how AI-powered assistants – like Direct Travel’s Simon – are integrating with customer-facing platforms such as MS Teams and Slack.

While AI’s current capabilities are impressive and continue to grow, it’s important to remember that AI does not replace the level of care and service that comes from working with a trusted travel advisor.

Sustainability Efforts Increase

Just as we predicted last year, the push for sustainable travel solutions continues as the industry collectively embraces greener travel options. The most reassuring way a company can ensure they stay compliant is by working closely with a travel partner who has access to industry-leading approaches to sustainability.

Our 2024 Forecast goes into greater detail on questions you can ask surrounding your sustainability goals, including:

  • Measure: How are our current CO2 emissions calculated?
  • Reduce: How can we update our travel planning to better embrace reduction targets?
  • Offset: Do you have a portfolio of offset projects we can choose from?

At Direct Travel, we utilize our exclusive Direct ATPI Halo platform for carbon measurement, reduction, and offsetting. By choosing to invest in sustainable projects through Direct ATPI Halo, businesses can effectively offset the unavoidable emissions of their own travel programs.

Travel & Workplace Culture

The evolution of remote work has altered travel’s relation to the workplace. With many companies embracing a hybrid or remote work model on a broader scale, the definition of “traveling for work” has greatly expanded. Business trips can blend with personal trips, in-person meetings may be held in alternative settings, and travel is increasingly a vital way to drive business growth. A few themes within this culture trend that we elaborate on in the whitepaper are:

  • Bleisure Travel: Extending or combining a business trip with a personal trip.
  • “Pay-cation”: Occurs when a remote employee works from a vacation destination.
  • Company Offsites: Hosting a meeting or retreat at an alternative location to focus on in-person strategic planning or team building, especially for organizations that are fully remote.

Supplier Growth

This year is ushering in a more balanced era of supplier and buyer negotiations. Partners are being seen as more flexible now that the business landscape has settled post-Covid, and suppliers are continuing to expand their offerings and put the traveler experience first.

Review our 2024 forecast to gain a better understanding on growth in the hotel, ground, and air sectors of the industry:

  • Hotels are looking to attract travelers by adjusting their RFP approach and experimenting with non-traditional offerings as more employees embrace new or independent methods of travel.
  • Ground transportation offerings are viewed positively – especially by younger business travelers – and a TMC is an ideal partner to recommend a myriad of train travel, rideshares, or rental car options for your organization.
  • Air travel demand is expected to outpace capacity in 2024 as airlines anticipate record traveler numbers and revenue. Having a trusted travel management company in your corner assures you have a guide who knows the ins and outs of air travel.

NDC Progress

Talks of New Distribution Capability (NDC) have been a large part of industry chatter in recent years. While this topic is certainly complex enough to warrant its own whitepaper, NDC will continue to be a focus for airlines in 2024 and beyond.

While NDC was created to solve for the limitations of legacy travel systems, it poses a new string of challenges for corporate travel to address before it can reach widespread adoption. Share our whitepaper with your team to learn what to expect in the coming months, including:

  • Further testing and pilot programs from TMCs
  • More airlines utilizing NDC
  • Businesses partnering with their TMC to update their policies

NDC is not an all-in-one solution, but it’s also not a disruption to avoid entirely. Our team can help your travel program harness the advantages of multiple distribution channels – including NDC – so that your organization continues to have a broad range of travel choices.

Travel Program Success

The new year is largely shaping up to be a time of growth and positivity, especially in areas like sustainable travel and Artificial Intelligence. However, unpredictability in other sectors such as airline travel and NDC updates call for a nimble approach to business growth goals and travel policy changes. To properly plan for the year ahead, travel managers should lean on a partner they can trust.

With Direct Travel as your TMC, you do not have to tackle these predictions alone. Our team of experts has researched these trends and is prepared for 2024. If you’re ready to help your travel program thrive this year and beyond, download our free whitepaper to get started.