The corporate travel sector has never faced a challenge like Covid-19. Even as governments and organizations around the world race to finalize and distribute a vaccine, 2020 has left its mark on the business travel sector in significant ways, both large and small.
For those organizations with essential workers, 2020’s most immediate concerns were how to most effectively design new travel policies, ensure traveler safety, offer more flexibility in terms of adjusting itineraries, and provide real-time information about risks to program managers.
But looking beyond the nuts and bolts of how business trips should happen during a pandemic, there are bigger questions emerging about how the entire sector should reorient itself for the new environment yet to come. After all, in a year when a significant portion of the corporate travel world stayed home, and a large portion of employees started to work remotely, many organizations now find themselves thinking more deeply about how best to utilize their business travel programs and expenditures moving forward.
While there’s considerable consensus across the spectrum that face-to-face business travel interactions will never be replaced, there’s new efforts being made by decision makers to use business travel programs more strategically to support company goals. What will a best-in-class travel program look like in 2021 and beyond? What are the biggest concerns of business travelers about returning to the road, and what will they need from trip providers to make their trips more comfortable?
Each of the themes above is explored in more detail in this latest edition of Skift and TripActions’ annual forward-looking review of the corporate travel sector. This new report, which includes the results of a survey distributed to several hundred business travelers and travel managers around the world in mid-2020, is synthesized with additional interviews from business travel industry leaders and a roundup of the latest sector news to provide an assessment of how business travel will evolve in the years ahead.