Business Travel Trends in 2023
While doing business face-to-face is bouncing back after the pandemic, the corporate travel industry is still very much in recovery. Here’s what to expect from business travel trends in 2023.
Source: Bloomberg Law
While there is no longer a shortage of travelers, there are new challenges:
- Airlines and hotels are struggling to find staff after layoffs and early retirements:
- And inflation has ballooned travel costs:
- Airfares are rising 5x faster than the overall inflation rate (source)
- Hotel rates are up 19%
The net impact on business travelers? One in four flights have been delayed in 2023, and travel is costing ~30% more per trip.
Higher travel costs and unreliable flights will strain businesses in 2023
Unfortunately inflation, staffing shortages, and uncertain flights will affect not just the traveling employee, but also their manager and the finance department.
Business travelers should:
- Plan for long check-in and security lines at the airport, even with TSA pre check.
- Prepare for flights to sell out quickly. Book as soon as you can.
- Expect flights to be delayed – be conservative with your itinerary, and don’t schedule optimistic meetings or airport transfers.
- Prepare to rebook canceled flights. Save your company’s travel agency number in your phone so you don’t have to wait in line with hundreds of other stranded passengers.
- Prepare to manually field far more policy-exceptions for expensive flights.
- Triage travel or re-allocate budgets – with each trip costing ~30% more, you’ll exhaust travel and expense budgets faster.
Finance departments should:
- Urgently update travel policies, pricing limits, and per diems to reflect 2023 pricing.
- Create dynamic policy parameters that aren’t capped at arbitrary or outdated prices.
- Partner with travel agencies that have seasoned agents available 24/7 to rebook canceled flights.
- Explore incentives and reward employees who book under budget. On average, we see businesses trim 30% of their travel budget after implementing rewards.