4 things you should know about business travel in 2018

What will really shape business travel next year and beyond? Our expert Sam Welch analyses the key trends

From hotel demand to smarter working, here’s the truth behind the business travel trends

From hotel demand to smarter working, here’s the truth behind the business travel trends

With 2018 just around the corner, it’s the season of industry predictions and trend-spotting – here, we cut to the key business travel essentials to be aware of for the year ahead.

1. Growth in the UK hotel sector is slowing

The healthy growth the UK hotel market experienced in 2017 is not expected to continue at the same rate for 2018.

The number crunchers at PwC are forecasting RevPAR increases of 2.4% in London for 2018. However, further increases in room supply will continue to impact on the balance between supply and demand for both London and elsewhere across the UK.

2. Cost is still a priority – but finding savings will require smarter working

Cost reduction and compliance with travel policy will be as important as ever for travel bookers and buyers during 2018.

However, we are seeing far more emphasis on driving smarter ways of working within the workforce. These focus not just on the straightforward cost of business travel, but also on reducing travel in the first place; improving traveller productivity while on the move; enhancing traveller safety and wellbeing; and improving the overall user experience.

3. Brexit is a mixed bag for business travel

Brexit will continue to be a key consideration in the travel industry for months and years to come, but it shouldn’t be viewed in isolation. The drop in the value of the pound over the last 12 months has increased leisure visitors to the UK as well as incentive business. However, this boost isn’t expected to increase further in 2018.

Likewise, the predicted slowdown in the UK economy, along with growing concerns around travel security risks, has the potential to hit business travel and domestic spending. both of which will potentially impact the UK hotel market.  In reality, it’s all about supply and demand.

4. Digital evolution is meaningless without cultural change

Travel management always focuses on innovation, but less frequently on company culture. It goes without saying that digital innovation will continue at an ever-increasing pace. But if travel managers, bookers and buyers really want to innovate – and make savings – the real power is in changing the mindset that everyone must travel.

Digital and virtual solutions such as online video-conferencing are driving improved productivity and reducing the need for endless face-to-face meetings. Virtual reality has the potential to take this even further in the future.

However, investing in the latest travel technologies and platforms will be pointless if no one in your organisation is actually comfortable and confident using them – or their first resort is to jump in the car rather than think about alternative options.

Encouraging your travellers to be empowered with virtual solutions by providing plenty of support and training, and rewarding compliance, will reap gains in productivity, cost reduction and wellbeing.

Sam Welch is director of proposition and consulting services – accommodation and meetings for Capita Travel and Events. Want to find out how our experts could help you work smarter? Get in touch today.


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