A new Business of Travel report from Accor’s Masters of Travel advisory board examined the “true value” of travel and offered advice on what businesses should prioritize in 2024 and beyond. According to the report, business travel demand is approaching pre-pandemic levels – the main focus being a return to in-person engagement with clients and industry-related events. They also found that “Purposeful Travel” requires a balance of social and environmental considerations.
Accor’s research found that business travel spending is down just 24% from 2019 and is expected to return to pre-pandemic levels by 2024 (Deloitte). Accor’s report noted that 57% of respondents expect to increase travel budgets in 2024 vs 2023. Experts estimate a 25% increase in revenue when closing deals in person.
Workers have also said they need interaction with colleagues and associates for their mental health and job satisfaction. “Traveler experience” was the second most crucial consideration for corporations, followed by cost-savings. Environmental concerns were also a top issue. The Accor survey revealed that 54% put carbon emissions as their number one priority.
Bleisure – which combines business with purposeful leisure time – has become common for many travelers, who are staying longer at destinations and doing more with their time. Younger employees are more likely to book bleisure trips, but the trend is increasingly prevalent across all demographics. Nearly 70% of respondents in the Accor poll extended their business trips in 2022.
Loyalty programs also help entice employees to travel, with younger travelers seeking experiential rewards like concerts, fun venues and access to bicycles.
Accor found that travel allows employees to build better communication skills, helps develop collaboration and negotiation skills, increases cultural awareness, promotes good decision-making and improves time management skills, among other things. Business leaders are also traveling more to gain knowledge, inspire new ideas, and access more social networking opportunities to improve growth in their businesses. The report noted that, when you travel, you interact with more people and gain insight into the city, culture, and people you visit – as well as learning what their personal “pains” are and how you can relieve them.