Business Travel Trends for 2022

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

Motus 2021 Business Travel Trends Report understandably highlights a decline in travel expenditure, as videoconferencing gained traction. Notably, during the second quarter of 2021, less than a fifth of companies reached 25% of their pre-pandemic quarterly travel spending. This aligns with the broader trend seen throughout the year, evidenced by a staggering $192 billion drop in U.S. business travel spend by November 2021. Although by year-end, most employees felt sufficiently secure to resume travel, travel managers found themselves reevaluating policies. Consequently, August 2021 saw an 11% reduction in travel spending compared to 2019 equivalents.

The decrease in air travel has been met with a surge in road travel. By March 2021, driving activity in the United States exceeded pre-2020 levels by 30%. Analyzing the data from 2021, the Motus report identifies an optimal threshold for driving on business trips, suggesting that journeys should not surpass 600 miles or 10 hours. Beyond these parameters, the costs associated with driving, including meals, accommodations, and travel time, begin to outweigh those of flying. Many of these trends are poised to extend into 2022, alongside emerging patterns worth noting.

The Choice Between Flying and Driving

Throughout 2021, many companies favored road travel over air travel, a trend likely to persist. However, practicality dictates that this won’t always be feasible. Factors such as the value of employees’ time and individual preferences necessitate a nuanced approach, even for trips shorter than 10 hours or 600 miles.

Advocating for Flexibility

Motus’ report reveals that 72% of employees prioritize flexibility in business travel, a trend expected to continue in 2022. Flexibility is paramount in fostering a sense of safety and comfort in the post-pandemic era.

Integrating Leisure into Business Travel

The pandemic has heightened the expectations surrounding business travel, with employees seeking to derive more value from their trips. Even before the pandemic, 90% of millennial business travelers incorporated leisure activities into their travels. This desire for a blended experience underscores the importance of flexibility, even if it entails additional personal expenses.

Exploring Alternative Accommodations

While hotels remain a staple in business travel, there’s a growing inclination towards non-traditional accommodations such as Airbnb. These alternatives offer a homely ambiance and are particularly appealing to employees seeking leisure activities during business trips. Leveraging such accommodations can serve as an incentive for employees, enhancing their overall travel experience.

Reframing Business Travel as a Perk

There’s a perceptible shift towards viewing corporate travel as a coveted perk, aligned with employees’ desire for enrichment and personal growth. Forward-thinking companies leverage this perspective to attract and retain talent effectively.

Embracing Automation in Travel Processes

Technological advancements have facilitated the automation of previously manual tasks in business travel. From flight price comparisons to travel insights, automation platforms like Oversee optimize travel programs, delivering tangible cost savings for corporate travel programs.

Technological Advancements in Travel

Beyond automation, technology has revolutionized various aspects of business travel. Streamlined airport experiences, improved in-flight Wi-Fi, and seamless hotel check-ins reflect the ongoing quest for enhanced efficiency and productivity.

Looking Ahead

In 2022, the demand for flexible corporate travel will persist, driven by employees’ desire for autonomy and enriched travel experiences. Leveraging automation and embracing evolving technological trends will be crucial in navigating the evolving landscape of business travel.

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