Skift Take

Business travelers know their livelihoods may depend on getting out on the road to nurture relationships with clients. Bean counters, concerned about inflation and sustainability issues, may block those trips.

There’s already is a tug of war between corporations that want their employees back into the office full-time, and workers who don’t want to give up working from home or as digital nomads.

Characterizing the issue in dramatic fashion, SAP Concur predicts there will be plenty more conflict in 2024.

SAP Concur used stark words and phrases to describe what’s ahead: “Rising tension with employees,” “friction” and “strife.”

Budget cuts will lead to “business travel tension,” the company said in an announcement about 2024 predictions.

“As organizations hammer out their business travel plans and policies for 2024, another year of budgetary caution will become a source of rising tension with employees,” said Amy Padgett, vice president, travel marketing strategy for SAP Concur in a statement. “Although budgets may increase, doing more with less in response to inflation will remain the organizational mantra of 2024.”

Work From Home

Padgett said there already is “friction” between businesses and their employees over flexible schedules and hybrid in-office and remote working arrangements.

Gen Z Will Push for Tech and Sustainability

“Increasing Gen Z workforce representation will also drive employers to adopt the latest technologies and treat sustainability as a top organizational priority to compete for young talent,” she added.

Many business travelers want to get back out on the road.

“Adding to this strife, the majority of global business travelers (67%) are very willing to hit the road and most (92%) say the future of their career depends on it,” Padgett said. “They also continue to see health and safety as the biggest threat to business travel. As organizations increasingly explore cost-cutting measures, like requiring that employees stay in less expensive accommodations that could potentially be in unsafe areas, enthusiastic business travelers are likely to put the pressure on employers to better meet their needs and expectations.”

More Megers Coming

SAP Concur also predicts that corporate social responsibility, increased use of New Distribution Capability features, and AI will be high on the agenda in travel in 2024.

Charlie Sultan, president of Concur Travel, said reduced supplier payments to travel management companies because of increased adoption of NDC may lead to to “continued consolidation” next year.


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Tags: ai, artificial intelligence, business travel, corporate travel, corporate travel management, digital nomads, m&a, mergers, mergers and acquisitions, ndc, remote work, remote workers, sap concur, tmcs

Photo credit: A digital nomad. Source: Aleh Tsikhanau/Unsplash Aleh Tsikhanau / Unsplash

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