Tuesday 4 February 2020

*GUEST BLOG* Flexibility is key to succeed in the business travel industry

Being the CEO of a hotel booking platform has the added benefit of staying in the loop of current and developing trends in the business travel industry. Collating the data of how people use Arbitrip to book their accommodation often has the same appeal as people watching. It gives me insight into the habits of my users and, as a data enthusiast with a deep love for the business travel industry, we have found some interesting trends that travel booking companies need to be aware of.

The quote ‘the only constant in life is change’ is never truer than in the business travel industry. The requirement for more flexibility in the sector comes from the need for individuals and companies to change their travel plans. Reasons to change plans are usually relatively simple. The names of travellers might need to be changed, the dates of the trip or even the trip’s duration. Sometimes these changes might be last minute!

A real spanner is thrown in the works when travellers want to make these changes, but are faced with amendment fees or 48-hour cancellation policies. Traditional travel management companies often do not do a lot to circumvent this. The speed of modern life means that most people demand quick and immediate changes to their travel plans, which requires enormously flexible booking options. At Arbitrip, we wanted to take this to heart when we abolished amendment fees, but the companies in the industry who refuse to be flexible will most likely find themselves left behind.

Another trend is the correlation between booking time, the traveller’s industry and their individual role. The ‘booking window’ (the time between booking and check-in) for some industries reflect their culture. For instance, high-speed, high-stakes cyber security companies will often have a very short gap between making their booking and their hotel check-in date. Conversely, financial institutions will often have booking windows of over a week. For the latter, they might prefer to benefit from the discounts that booking in advance brings and the stability of planning early. But in cyber security, the ability to travel on a moment’s notice might outweigh the increased cost of last-minute booking.

Once again, this calls for wider flexibility in the travel industry.

Certain events also have a trend of dictating travel habits. The most likely reason for a business traveller to book well in advance are conferences. For popular big-name conferences like CES in Vegas – the largest Consumer Electronics conference – we often see accommodation being booked as far as a year in advance! These bookings are unlikely to change, but when they do, it is usually to change the traveller’s name.

Finally, the week is a trend in and of itself. As people are reluctant to take time out of their weekends to travel for business, Saturday and Sunday are slow for business travel. Interestingly, the busiest days for travel are Tuesday and Wednesday, whereas the most popular days for booking are Thursdays and Fridays. When I see trends like this I always wonder: are people giving themselves something exciting to look forward to over the weekend when they book at the end of the week, whilst maximising their time abroad when they travel at the beginning?

The one theme that unites all these trends is flexibility and how necessary it is in the future of business travel. Travellers are demanding options that allow for the flexibility to make spontaneous, adaptable plans and long-term rigid ones.

This blog was posted by Benny Yonovich, CEO of Arbitrip, who are exhibiting at the Business Travel Show next month. Please register for your free visitor pass at www.businesstravelshow.com

1 comment:

  1. It was very encouraging to see this kind of content. Thank you for sharing.

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