2020 Business Travel Trends: The Top 5 Things to Watch Out For

In 2020, the global corporate travel industry will continue to evolve, with experts predicting that spend on business trips will reach USD $1.7 trillion.

What’s in store for business travellers alongside this progress? These five trends are anticipated to have the biggest bearing on corporate travel in the year ahead.


1. Bleisure will boom

Business trips are no longer restricted to airplanes, airports and offices and people want to take in the culture and lifestyle of the places they end up. Spurred on by youthful workers who demand a better work-life balance, bleisure is a legitimate way for employers to attract and retain talent. Even if the portmanteau prompts a few eye rolls from buzzword-despising folks, bleisure (a hybrid of “business” and “leisure”) makes a convincing case for the growing number of business travellers inclined to live it up in the places they travel to for work. Read more about things to consider when adding bleisure to a work travel policy.


2. Spotlight on aviation emissions

Even though aviation contributes about 2% of the world’s global carbon emissions, passenger numbers are growing at an alarming rate. So, as other industries become greener, aviation’s proportion of total emissions is set to rise as more flights produce more greenhouse gases (CO2 from burning jet fuel). As harmful emissions from travel rise, the industry faces mounting pressure to reduce its carbon footprint. Travellers in 2020 will be more mindful of the environmental cost of travel and will likely look for ways to cut their impact, even if that means travelling less. From contributing to a carbon offset fund to dodging bottled water, read more about what you can do to reduce your footprint.


3. Immigration tech will ease airport experience

International business travellers can look forward to quicker queuing times at border control as facial recognition technology is rolled out at more airports around the world. Automated border control systems or eGates are automated self-service barriers that use the data stored in biometric passports to verify the user’s identity. Travellers submit to biometric verification using face, fingerprint, iris recognition or a combination of modalities. After the identification process is complete, a physical barrier such as a gate or turnstile opens to permit passage. The result for travellers is less time spent satisfying human immigration protocols and strict border control procedures. While the technology has been around for a while, the number of eGate units deployed globally will continue to grow in 2020. Most eGates have been installed in airports in Europe, Australia and Asia.


4. Alternative accommodation is in

As the sharing economy takes hold, business travellers are more comfortable booking alternative forms of accommodation instead of the customary chain hotels. This trend is influenced by the new generation of corporate travellers who are opting to stay in apartments and other accommodations that have a homier feel. Smaller boutique hotels and home-like spaces enjoy increased popularity and provide opportunities for exploring a destination in new ways.


5. Corporate travel policies will adapt

The new year presents an ideal time for companies to review their corporate travel policy and adjust it to reflect the changing behaviour of business travellers in 2020. For employers who remain set in their ways, the risk of work travellers going outside approved channels when booking business trips increases. Focus on the basics by implementing a corporate travel booking process that caters to a range of budgets, offers better availability and more choices of accommodation. Blend in alternative accommodations and a perk or two (such as bleisure) and you should be well on your way to a corporate travel policy that makes everyone happy.

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