According to the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA), business travel spending is projected to rise to $842 billion in 2021, up from $694 billion in 2020, but there are still some challenges ahead.
June 3, 2021
If traveling is required to return to business as usual, those in the travel and hospitality industry need to assure your B2B customers that it's safe to travel by providing them with all the necessary information and tools to book their events and travel plans with confidence.
3 B2B Travel Trends Your Team Needs to Keep in Mind
Here are three B2B travel trends your team needs to be aware of moving forward:
1. User Experience is More Important Than Ever – Throughout Their Entire Journey
As more businesses start investing in traveling again, travel decision makers will prioritize hotels, resorts, and agencies that prioritize an end-to-end experience.
Your B2B customers have become accustomed to using various pieces of technology to help them proceed with their business – this needs to be reflected in their travel experience as well. This means incorporating technology such as apps, digital wallets, and online booking tools into their repertoire if you're expecting to stay competitive in the industry. Touchless services and safe accommodations should be available too as guests strive to maintain their health and wellbeing on the road.
2. Travel Spending is Down – For Now
Studies show that approximately 38% of corporate travel managers globally stated that they expect their travel plans and budgets for 2021 to be down by 25% to 50% compared to 2019. Approximately 36% of them said their travel plans and budgets will be down between 50% and 70% from 2019.
What does this mean for your team? Well, in some cases, businesses that do begin traveling again will be looking for opportunities to save a few bucks, resulting in them opting for cheaper accommodations, better package deals, etc.
In the meantime, travel agencies and hoteliers are getting creative to remain relevant among B2B professionals. One of the most popular methods has been creating downloadable Zoom backgrounds. This allows travel brands to stay front of mind so that these locations and names can stick out the most when travel makes a bigger come back.
Even though travel spending is down, nearly two-thirds of member corporate travel managers surveyed by the GBTA say their teams are now ready to resume traveling for business. Research also shows that businesses of all sizes are returning to work and many have indicated that they will be traveling to in-person meetings, conferences and events this year – particularly in the third and fourth quarters of 2021.
3. The Power of In-Person Business Plays a Significant Role in B2B Relationship Building
While many businesses were able to use online collaboration tools to maintain some resemblance of "business as usual," there is no denying that business relationships suffered during this time.
When asked, approximately 80% of business travelers and travel managers stated that they "agreed" or "strongly agreed" that meeting in person was more effective than meeting virtually. Of that same group, approximately 91% stated that business travel is vital for driving company growth.
Professionals need to keep in mind that as travel restrictions begin to decrease, these B2B travelers are going to be on the hunt for those hotels, resorts, and travel agencies that can act quickly and offer hybrid meeting options that can accommodate everyone without impacting the quality of the event/meeting.
Use These B2B Travel Trends to Boost Your Hospitality Marketing
These three trends are only the tip of the iceberg for the travel and hospitality industry's changing atmosphere. By leveraging these insights, B2B teams can take a closer look at their solutions and find creative ways to encourage engagement and stay relevant during demand recovery.