7 Projections for Travel Programs


7 projections for travel programs

7 projections summary image

COVID-19 has transformed the business travel landscape. With many offices closed either temporarily or permanently and large portions of workforces working remotely, travel managers’ priorities have shifted.


With domestic travel in most counties underway again, the vaccination program will hopefully unlock an increase in international business trips. However, demand will be shaped by the adoption of virtual alternatives, remote workers questioning the need to travel, and the rising importance of sustainability on corporate (and government) agendas.

Health and safety are now the number one priority for every travel manager, with proof of vaccination and health passports likely to become a standard part of the business traveler’s kit.

As the events of 2020 showed, health emergencies can escalate quickly, and borders shut overnight. As business travel resumes, those that travel will be subject to policies that place up-front the minimizing of risk through duty of care.

So, what will travel programs look like going forward? Here are seven projections:

1. Travel budgets will be smaller. Consequently, as corporates struggle to hit the thresholds in their preferred supplier agreements, we expect to see fierce competition amongst suppliers and some inevitable consolidation.

2. There will be fewer but more important trips and travelers. Trips of marginal value will be refused and pushed towards virtual instead.

3. Travel managers will focus less on cost savings because those trips that do take place are important, as negotiated savings are far outweighed by massive savings from fewer trips.

4. Senior management will demand greater insight into the effectiveness of travel spend and challenge travelers to make more of their trips.

5. Fewer trips and travelers will lead to suppliers reducing capacity. Airlines will use price inelasticity of remaining trips and raise prices for business travelers.

6. The importance of travel in company structures may be diminished as HR and security stakeholders become involved in re-tooling travel programs and procurement execs spend less time on travel as a spend category.

7. More organizations will recognize the risks of allowing direct bookings and will turn to TMCs to help them manage every aspect of travel, from identifying the criteria for travel to measuring trip outcomes.


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