From “bleisure” travel, to the evolv­ing use of tech­nol­ogy, to pol­icy plan­ning and smarter spend­ing, the ex­pe­ri­enced Gold­man Travel Cor­po­ra­tion team has put to­gether its key pre­dic­tions for the cor­po­rate travel sec­tor in 2018.

Business First - - TRAVEL -

Bleisure is boom­ing. The line be­tween busi­ness and leisure travel con­tin­ues to blur, with em­ploy­ees in­creas­ingly opt­ing to wind down post-busi­ness trip with a week­end of leisure in a nearby des­ti­na­tion. Over­crowd­ing in ma­jor tourist hotspots will spur fre­quent cor­po­rate trav­ellers to avoid over-pop­u­lated picks in favour of au­then­tic lo­cal des­ti­na­tions and ex­pe­ri­ences – switch­ing up the cor­po­rate travel norm.

“Seeking out en­tic­ing des­ti­na­tions for busi­ness travel is a use­ful tool in the re­cruit­ment and re­ten­tion of pro­fes­sional staff, es­pe­cially those who have long been reg­u­lar busi­ness trav­ellers. In a com­pet­i­tive re­cruit­ment mar­ket, em­ploy­ers should lever­age their travel pro­grams to at­tract new tal­ent by con­sid­er­ing adding des­ti­na­tions and di­verse ac­com­mo­da­tion op­tions which fa­cil­i­tate mean­ing­ful ex­pe­ri­ences

pre- and post-busi­ness, whether it’s a great golf course, im­mer­sive culi­nary ac­tiv­i­ties, or a desert sa­fari in Dubai,” says David Gold­man, Joint Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor of Gold­man Group.

Talk­ing tech is be­com­ing a uni­ver­sal lan­guage and there’s no deny­ing mo­bile apps have quickly be­come the norm for cor­po­rate trav­ellers. In­vest­ing in ro­bust tech­nol­ogy plat­forms to help em­ploy­ees man­age their timeta­bles, travel spend, ex­penses and more whilst trav­el­ling makes solid busi­ness sense.

“We ex­pect to see more com­pa­nies, es­pe­cially large multi­na­tion­als, us­ing and analysing big data to in­form their travel plan­ning, in­clud­ing bud­get­ing, as well as more em­pha­sis on mo­bile ex­pense man­age­ment. Man­ag­ing ex­penses is a top pri­or­ity for com­pa­nies look­ing to min­imise com­pli­cated ad­min for their onthe-road em­ploy­ees,” ex­plains Gold­man.

Spread­sheets sim­ply won’t do any more. Fre­quent busi­ness trav­ellers want - and de­serve – ac­cess to mo­bile tech­nol­ogy with the ca­pa­bil­ity to cap­ture re­ceipts and track ex­pen­di­ture. Those ap­prov­ing travel spend back at head of­fice need to be able to seam­lessly re­view re­ports to fa­cil­i­tate rapid pro­cess­ing and re­im­burse­ment of ex­penses.

An­other area where tech­nol­ogy use is ex­plod­ing in the cor­po­rate travel arena is in both trans­port and ac­com­mo­da­tion, by way of shar­ing plat­forms such as Uber. Cost-savvy com­pa­nies are in­creas­ingly book­ing Uber, which is eas­ily track­able both in terms of ge­og­ra­phy and spend, is a sim­ple so­lu­tion avail­able in many coun­tries, sim­pli­fy­ing the tire­some is­sue of trans­port whilst on busi­ness – all while sav­ing money.

With com­plex geopol­i­tics and global ter­ror­ism ex­pos­ing more trav­ellers to po­ten­tially risky en­vi­ron­ments, safety and se­cu­rity con­cerns are para­mount, and pro­tect­ing em­ploy­ees is the new global travel im­per­a­tive. From de­te­ri­o­rat­ing diplo­matic re­la­tions be­tween coun­tries such as Rus­sia and the US, to es­ca­lat­ing ten­sions with Korea, to tight­en­ing visa reg­u­la­tions and in-flight lap­top bans, em­ploy­ers have a lot more to con­sider than just book­ing flights and ho­tels for their fre­quent trav­ellers. Gold­man ad­vises com­pa­nies to un­der­take for­mal risk train­ing for busi­ness trav­ellers and those co­or­di­nat­ing their trips.

“It’s crit­i­cal that the de­part­ments man­ag­ing cor­po­rate travel, or their out­sourc­ing part­ners, stay con­nected to the lat­est geopo­lit­i­cal de­vel­op­ments and ter­ror­ist alerts which could af­fect their em­ploy­ees and im­ple­ment a de­tailed travel risk man­age­ment pol­icy” ex­plains Gold­man. “Hav­ing a for­mal pol­icy in place helps com­mu­ni­cate key fac­tors such as the way the com­pany will com­mu­ni­cate any alerts, how and where busi­ness trav­ellers can seek as­sis­tance dur­ing any un­fore­seen cri­sis, and tips for trav­ellers to stay safe when on the road.”

The Gold­man Group an­tic­i­pates 2018 will see more com­pa­nies shift their mind­set from pri­ori­tis­ing ‘sav­ings’ to fo­cus­ing upon ‘smarter spend­ing’.

“We’re al­ways striv­ing to ed­u­cate our clients that the cheap­est air­fares or ho­tel rates aren’t al­ways the most ap­pro­pri­ate, and don’t al­ways equate to the best value in the long run. For in­stance, a bar­gain re­stricted air­line ticket isn’t ap­pro­pri­ate if there’s a chance the flight may need to be changed so it’s al­ways best to con­sider the way your em­ploy­ees travel and then spend ap­pro­pri­ately to meet their needs, and your bud­get.”

“We ex­pect to see more com­pa­nies, es­pe­cially large multi-na­tion­als, us­ing and analysing big data to in­form their travel plan­ning, in­clud­ing bud­get­ing, as well as more em­pha­sis on mo­bile ex­pense man­age­ment.”

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