In Dana Travels, Trends

What do business travelers really want? Dana takes a look at some 2019 corporate travel trends worth consideration. Plus, our own global business travelers, Dana President Lynn Kaniper and Sr. Account Executive Wes Hackmann, offer a few tips and insights on their recent travels to Bangkok, Thailand, and Brighton, England.

Bleisure is here to stay. Along with brunch and glamping, bleisure is a portmanteau (blended word) that isn’t going anywhere. In fact, interest is ginormous! As Generation Z enters the workplace, they are likely to bolster a trend that’s already popular with Millennials. Hoteliers can tap into the bleisure market by making it more attractive to extend a business trip. A few suggestions: honor the negotiated corporate rate, offer perks for extending their stay and create a bleisure package that includes admission to the attraction or landmark in your city that simply can’t be missed. 

Live (and work) like a local. Corporate travelers want the opportunity to enjoy the local culture, just like leisure travelers. But how do you make business travel more experiential? Food is always a good place to start. Include dining on regional cuisine, sampling local craft beer or stopping at the destination’s most popular restaurants in the itinerary. Add a local cooking class as part of a team-building session. Book your road warriors in neighborhoods that invite exploration. Or include a tour of a local museum in your meeting agenda. “When Lynn and I were in Thailand for the SITE Global Conference, we were lucky enough to have a relative of one of our colleagues show us around Bangkok,” says Wes. “We enjoyed a true private tour that hit all the tourist spots but also took us to some of the hidden gems that we might not have seen otherwise. The best part was the culinary experience. We dined at his favorite restaurants where he recommended the best dishes and provided cultural history to go along with it. We really did live and eat like locals!”

The sharing economy edges up in corporate acceptance. According to a Skift Report on “10 Business Travel Trends for 2019,” corporate travel decision-makers are starting to accept sharing economy services like Airbnb and Lyft in greater degree. It’s partly due to the growing professionalism of these services, but it’s mostly about changing habits. In fact, a 2018 Skift study of ridesharing habits of U.S. business travelers (completed with Lyft) revealed that 79% of respondents would choose a rideshare as their first ground transportation over taxis, rental cars or car services. The question isn’t whether or not business travelers will used shared options (they will), but whether or not companies will integrate them into corporate travel policies. Bottom line, they should, or they’ll risk frustrating their employees.

Security will be top of mind. Feeling insecure while traveling for work can threaten productivity, job satisfaction and employee retention. And while all corporate travelers want the assurance of online and hotel/venue security, puts the risks that female travelers face to the top of the corporate agenda. As the #metoo movement filters into the corporate travel market, companies should not wait to address travel security concerns and implement policies that will offset a “recent GBTA report that found only 18% of corporate travel safety policies specifically address female safety needs.” And speaking of policies…

People come before policies. Another trend in the Skift Report suggests that people, not policies, are starting to come first in 2019. Recognizing the toll that corporate travel can take on a person’s health, companies are retooling outdated travel policies to balance cost implications with employee freedoms. By offering more flexibility with flights, connections and lodging, companies can reduce the stress involved with travel and help their employees arrive at their destinations refreshed and ready to focus. “For long-haul travel, it helps to add an extra day at the beginning of the trip,” says Lynn. “Arriving in the U.K. a day early for our meeting with our clients at IMEX gave us a chance to recharge. We enjoyed having the time to experience Brighton, from sampling the local fish and chips to stopping at the 16th-century Druid’s Head for a pint!”

Need help marketing to business travelers? Contact Lynn Kaniper at 609.466.9187 ext. 117 or today.

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aerial view of Palau Ngeruktabel Island