12 December 2022, etc.venues Monument, London
Business Travel Show Europe, presented by The BTN
21 November, London Hilton Metropole
Companies are keeping a closer eye on the reasons staff travel, according to new research by Hogg Robinson Travel (HRG).
This is one of several trends developing as economic conditions get tougher, the travel management company said.
The agency highlighted six current trends in business travel:
* greater stress on reasons for travel * increased flexibility on travel policy with more emphasis on best fare of the day* control over numbers travelling to meetings* more use of video conferencing* more support for preferred suppliers* increased demand for detailed and immediate data.
Stewart Harvey, HRG's director of client management, said that while there was an acceptance that some travel was essential, companies were increasingly looking at the need for a trip.
"What is becoming more apparent is that companies are paying more attention to the reason behind a trip.
"Increasingly they are opting to consider - and offer - alternative solutions, whether that is best fare on the day or a teleconference," he said.
"Although not mandatory, we are seeing certain companies asking us to offer their travellers a video conference alternative at the time they request a flight booking.
"There is also a trend towards webinars, and a return to video conferences for internal meetings."
He said that concerns over carbon footprints were also playing a part in corporates' decisions on whether or not to travel.
Mr Harvey said that types of fares were also coming under closer scrutiny.
He said there was a trend for clients to avoid booking "highly restrictive" in favour of the "lowest mid-range fare which has flexibility."
It meant customers often chose these over lower cost options from low cost carriers which had “full cancellation penalties.”
It meant, he said, the HRG's Global Pricing Desk had had to expand capacity and extend working hours to cope with the increased demand to find savings.
But the picture HRG paints is not entirely gloomy. There were areas where business travel is growing.
"Although transatlantic routes are feeling the brunt of the current financial situation, we are seeing growth in the emerging markets.
"This is particularly apparent in the Middle East and Africa," he said.