Globalization, the growing Millennial workforce, and disruption in suppliers are the trends that are set to impact the business travel industry, according to new research from the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) in partnership with Cvent. According to the report, the travel buyer role is an increasingly global one and shifts from travel towards procurement, an increasing focus on traveler safety, and technology implementation, have given rise to new challenges for the business travel industry.
Here are some highlights from the report:
The Millennial Workforce on the Rise
One in four travel buyers say that over 40 percent of their traveling workforce is now made up of Millennials, according to the study. Over half of buyers (54 percent) say Millennials tend to push the boundaries of corporate travel policy and three-quarters (73 percent) say Millennials demand different, more consumer-like tools out of their company’s travel program.
Despite this, only one in five travel buyers say they have changed their travel policy in response to an increasingly Millennial workforce.
Tech Impacts Process, But Doesn’t Drive Policy Changes
According to the study, seven in ten (70 percent) buyers say they expect to spend more time evaluating or implementing new technology in the next five years. Additionally, nearly three-quarters (73 percent) of travel buyers say increasing technological developments are significantly impacting their role and 42 percent say tech developments are having a moderate to very strong impact on their travel programs.
Despite the strong impact, many buyers have not changed their travel policies in response to technology advancements as only 32 percent report doing so. This compares to 54 percent of buyers who have made policy changes regarding safety and security concerns.
Integration Remains a Struggle
Technology integration is a top priority in vendor selection, according to the report, yet travel buyers still struggle with integration, particularly with homegrown meetings management. 57 percent of buyers indicate tech integration is within their top three priorities when selecting vendors for a travel management company (TMC) and travel booking technology (66 percent). At the same time, for buyers with meetings management technology in place, only 41 percent say they combine TMC/hotel data with data from their meetings management tool; fewer say their meetings management tool is integrated with their safety and security tool (37 percent) or their online booking tool (36 percent); and only 18 percent say it is integrated with their expense tool.
Additionally, program success and priorities are not always aligned, according to the study. Despite traveler safety growing in importance over time, only a small majority (52 percent) of buyers measure travel effectiveness through traveler safety metrics.