Trends. They come and go. Well, some do. And others linger to the point of outstaying their welcome. So which will be keeping travel managers on their toes in 2016?
For the last six years, the Business Travel Show has surveyed travel bookers, buyers and managers from all over Europe to unravel the trends for the forthcoming 12 months; innovation that will make their jobs easier and more interesting and issues that will challenge them.
This time last year, the sharing economy took the award for ‘principal disruptor most likely to impact the world of business travel’ and it’s still causing delight and despair in equal measure.
Two years ago the words ‘Airbnb’ and ‘Uber’ were just creeping into the English lexicon. Now, business travellers are regularly booking hotel accommodation using sharing economy providers, attracted by their convenience and value. According to our survey, 17 per cent of them, in fact.
But the sharing economy continues to cause headaches for travel managers, who are unsure whether suppliers comply with duty of care legislation and their overall travel programmes. In fact, when asked whether suppliers from within the sharing economy were considered a threat or benefit to their travel programme, nearly half of buyers declared they were still undecided.
So the sharing economy will continue to be big news in 2016, as will technology-driven services generally, which are now being developed with the travel managers’ interests at heart. TripBam, for example, allows travel managers to drive compliance by controlling which hotels travellers can book and Cytere scrapes social media channels to gauge the riskiness of a location, allowing travel managers to analyse local sentiment and assess the safety of an area.
Duty of care and traveller risk are also still very high on the agenda, particularly after the terrorist attacks in Paris and the Russian airline explosion over the Sinai Peninsula in October, explaining why 92 per cent of buyers accept that the duty of care of their travellers is their responsibility.
Other trends that will impact travel managers in 2016? The continuing evolution in travel distribution, supplier consolidation, the increasing demand on buyers to provide travellers with tailored solutions, the changing demographic and needs of travellers and the ongoing pressure to communicate and enforce compliance.
All of these and more will be unpicked, discussed and debated in the 60 sessions at the Business Travel Show conference – all free for buyers to attend and designed to help them survive everything this industry will throw at them for the next 12 months.
This post was written by David Chapple, group director, Business Travel Show, for Travel Daily. The Business Travel Show takes place on 24-25 February, Olympia Grand, London, and is attended by 250 exhibitors and 7,500 business travel professionals. Register for a free visitor pass at www.businesstravelshow.com.