Taking a Look at Business Travel Trends for 2022

Even during the pandemic, business travel has remained present. Yes, the pandemic increased the use of technology and video for meetings that don’t require an in-person presence. However, it also proved that many things still need those in-person interactions. To help you map out your company’s future travel plans, we’ve listed the travel trends in 2021. With these trends, you’ll know what to look forward to in 2022.

What We've Seen in 2021

The 2021 Business Travel Trends Report from Motus unsurprisingly found a decrease in travel spend in favor of videoconferencing. The report indicates that, as of the second quarter of 2021, less than a fifth of companies reached 25% of their 2019 quarterly spend on travel. This falls in line with an overall estimate. Specifically, in November, U.S. business travel spend had dropped $192 billion in 2021. By the end of 2021, most employees felt safe enough to travel. However, travel managers were reevaluating their policies. As a result, August 2021’s travel spend was 11% less than the equivalent in 2019. The reduction in flight travel comes with an increase in driving. By March 2021, driving activity in the United States was 30% higher than before the pandemic. Based on the data from 2021, the Motus report also found the ideal cap for driving on business trips. They say that drives should not exceed 600 miles or 10 hours. After that, the industry’s cost would start to become more significant than the cost of flying. These additional costs include meals, accommodations, and travel time. Some of these trends from 2021 are likely to continue into 2022, and there will also be some other noteworthy trends.

The Decision to Fly or Drive

In 2021, many companies focused on driving on business trips instead of flying. As such, many companies are likely to continue considering it. But this will not always be a practical option. Companies have to consider the value of their team’s time and the preferences of employees. This is even true on trips less than 10 hours or 600 miles.

Pushing for Flexibility

The Motus report also found that 72% of employees prioritize flexibility for their business travel. This will continue to be a trend in 2022, as employees require that flexibility to feel safe in the pandemic and post-pandemic world.

Incorporating Leisure into Business Travel

The requirements for traveling during the pandemic have increased. As such, employees want to get more out of their business travel than before. Even before the pandemic, 90% of millennial business travelers added some leisure activities to their travel. This ties closely into the idea of flexibility with travel. Employees follow the mindset that if they spend time traveling to a destination, they also want to be able to appreciate the city they are in. This is true even if it requires some out-of-pocket expenses for them.

Considering Accommodations Other than Hotels

Hotels remain a popular choice for business travel accommodations. After all, they are familiar and have loyalty programs. However, there is also an increase in companies booking less traditional accommodations. Airbnb and similar accommodations that offer the comforts of home are becoming more popular. These are particularly popular among employees looking for leisure activities on business trips. Travel procurement teams should consider using the accommodations as an incentive when planning business trips. It can motivate employees to return to business travel.

Self-Booking is More Popular

There is also an increase in companies allowing employees to book their own travel or accommodations.

This is done within a set of restrictions and policies. It is also done without eliminating the role of travel bookers. This option can reduce labor costs for the travel booking team and gives employees an element of control. It does, however, come with a caveat. It takes time out of the day for those employees. After all, they are less likely to be able to book efficiently compared to someone dedicated to that role.

Even when companies do not offer self-booking for their employees, they can provide some of the benefits.

One example is by offering employees several choices for flights or accommodations. This ties back into the trend of flexibility mentioned above.

Seeing Business Travel as a Perk

 There is a trend toward viewing corporate travel as a perk. This comes through with some previous points, such as flexibility and the ability to add leisure activities to business trips; Millennials strongly report viewing business travel as enriching. International business travelers of all generations also highlight the value of their personal and professional growth. Savvy companies use this idea to incentivize employees and attract and retain talent.

Automating Processes that Were Previously Done Manually

As technology advances, one trend in business travel has been automating time-consuming tasks that used to be done manually. One example is comparing flight prices or reshopping flights via an airfare saver. Services like Oversee can do this quickly and automatically to optimize the travel program. Another example is the use of travel insights. Companies increasingly use programs that can automate analytics to glean relevant insights.

Other Technology-Related Travel Trends

Automating travel-related processes is far from the only business travel trend related to technology. The simplest examples include passengers’ ability to automatically check in for flights and download boarding passes onto phones. Sometimes, travelers can also automatically check in and out of hotels.

The improved efficiency that travelers experience at the airport is another major trend. Employees expect airport lines to be shorter and faster. This comes thanks to facial recognition technology, other biometrics, and automated kiosks at immigration.

The improved speed and reliability of in-flight Wi-Fi is another growing trend. This allows employees to be more productive on flights. Wi-Fi connections also help reduce the amount of wasted time associated with travel.

The Bottom Line

 In 2022, you can expect to see a demand for corporate travel that is flexible. Businesses now give employees more control over at least some decisions. This may mean selecting between several accommodations or the ability to add leisure activities. The use of technology has also improved; more and more companies are using automation platforms like Oversee to deliver significant business travel cost savings.

Subscribe for updates from Oversee — refreshing business travel insights delivered to your inbox!

Sourcing Optimization Icon
Press Release

FairFly Rebrands as Oversee Underpinning Travel Spend Optimization Leadership

The new brand builds on the company’s commitment to providing an all-in-one platform to optimize corporate travel spend and AI-powered automation tools for travel agencies.

The switch to a new company name comes during exponential growth for Oversee (formerly FairFly). Its outstanding customer base testifies to the business success of Oversee currently serving 29 of the Fortune 100, 86 of the Fortune 500, and 38 of BTN Corporate Travel 100 companies.

Read More »
We've rebranded
Explore more related posts
Rethinking static travel policy

Time to rethink your static travel policy?

Times are changing and traditional, one-size-fits-all corporate travel policies are no longer meeting the diverse needs of businesses and employees. Many companies continue to use outdated, static travel policies rooted in historic pricing strategies that aren’t even used by carriers any longer.

Air Fares

How do I get the best negotiated airfares?

As securing discounted corporate airfares gets harder Negotiating the best corporate airfares can be tricky at the best of times. Many external factors are making the task even harder. Ever-tighter profit margins, fluctuating oil prices, and increased competition from smaller

corporate fares

Getting the best corporate airfares?

Be aware of poor advice Book on Wednesday. The book is just before midnight. Shop around to compare airlines—book 57 days in advance. There’s no shortage of statistics and questionable advice on how individuals can secure the best price on

10 tips for airfares

Top 10 tips when negotiating with airlines

Dos and don’ts when negotiating corporate airfares Negotiating the best deal with airline suppliers is one of the most significant tasks for a travel management company – and it’s rarely easy. Airlines face tight profit margins, pushed further by fluctuating


See Travel Spend Optimization in action. Get a personalized demo!

Our solutions experts are here to listen and share how your peers leverage Price Assurance and Program Optimization. Let us show you how we can support you, your company, and your travelers.