The world of corporate travel has seen a rapid evolution in the past decade with trends and policy changes that empower the employee to travel and stay how they want to - not necessarily how the company mandates.
With the emergence of alternative accommodations, business travelers feel like they’ve stumbled upon a secret travel hack they have to fiercely protect once they start staying with us. With a business travel program that touts no minimum night stays, discounted rates, priority booking, and flexible cancellation policy - we’re humbly not surprised that more and more road warriors are jumping on the travel apartment bandwagon.
Yes, it’s a brand new world out there for business travelers as we enter a new decade this 2020; so in order to gear up for what’s to come in the next year, we gathered our very own group of experts, aka our stellar corporate travel team (feel free to drop ‘em a line - they are the most ridiculously friendly bunch):
This veteran group of business travel pros has decades of experience, has been there, done that, and are experts in all things corporate travel. We sat them down for good ol’ fashioned Q&A to get a pulse on all things corporate travel in 2020 - below, check out their predictions (that will undoubtedly turn into trends). They even graciously did us the solid of summing up 2020 trends in no less than two words: efficient travel.
Read on to find out why…
Bleisure Travel is Here to Stay and Growing
These days, business travel is almost always mixed with pleasure, and as awkward as the term “bleisure” is, more and more companies are allowing employees to extend their stay by a few days so they can fit in some fun. Granted these few extra days are typically paid out of pocket, but hey, you already traveled on the company’s dime to get there. Enter: first holler back to our theme of efficiency.
“We’ve seen a big bump year over year in the number of business travelers tacking on a few extra days to their stay,” said Amanda. “Millennials are the largest group of business travelers right now and they are taking advantage of work trips by also seeing friends, family and colleagues around the country. Or sometimes they’re even timing work trips around concerts or sporting events. Add the fact that our travel apartments always include a kitchen and laundry, and you have the perfect equation for that extra weekend stay.”
More Employees Want Out of That Boxy Hotel Room and Into Bigger, Better Stays
Speaking of millennials, they might make up the largest segment of business travelers in the U.S., but they also grew up in the era of Airbnb and thus want, nay, demand more from their stay. Travel apartments are more like a home-way-from-home and nowhere close to cookie cutter; and road warriors are way more comfortable in an apartment setting and specifically requesting alternative options - once they’ve tried a travel apartment, they’re hooked.
“Employees want more from their travel accommodations and HR and corporate travel departments are hearing them loud and clear,” said Ruby. “Plus, companies are realizing the real cost savings with travel apartments; budget-conscious businesses are buddying up and booking a single travel apartment for two or three employees since we offer separate bedrooms. You can now host more employees without sacrificing privacy - it’s a win-win.”
Did you catch that? That’s right - second clap back to efficient travel…
So Long Check In Desk, Hello Autonomous Techy Business Travelers
Long gone are the days of Excel spreadsheet travel requests you have to get approved by the powers-that-be. Employees expect to be able to book their own travel, and Stay Alfred is all about helping corporate travelers fight for their right to travel. In fact, we really leaned in and have given pretty much all the power over to the guest.
“Business travelers want to arrive, check-in and relax,” said Jane. “We’re talking no fuss, no muss. Stay Alfred empowers them to take charge of their travel experience and stay the way they want to stay, from self booking to mobile check-in - plus 24/7 customer service via live chat or right from the app. It’s easy, efficient and autonomous. Our travelers are loving it.”
The Rise of Travel Policies That Empower the Employee
Companies obviously have varying levels of policing corporate travel, with the more progressive startups simply going with the flow and larger entities tightening the reins. But the new normal is favoring flexible policies and empowering the employee to dictate how they travel for work.
“We have always been favored by startups, but are now seeing more corporate clients choose us as an exception to the rule,” said Rob. “Once clients see the cost savings, that we can ensure duty of care, booking efficiencies and overall uniqueness of our travel apartments, they’re sold. And alternative accommodations are definitely a growing solution for industries like sports, entertainment, healthcare, and tech who need flexibility.”
You heard it here first, folks. Business travelers will increasingly opt for efficiencies so they can maximize their time away from home, and they expect more of the comforts of home from where they stay. And this kind of efficient travel will exponentially benefit employer and employee.