Business travel trends 2024: How will we travel for business this year?

Bleisure will become even more commonplace

A full recovery in business travel spend is anticipated this year, with the market returning to levels last seen in 2019. Much has changed over the past five years: business travellers today are increasingly discerning when they travel, as they seek to derive the maximum value from each trip. New technologies, such as Generative Artificial Intelligence (AI), can deliver an enhanced experience for those choosing to embark on a trip.

Bleisure will become even more commonplace

This Globetrender report, produced in association with Cytric Easy by Amadeus, reveals seven trends that will shape and define business travel in the coming 12 months. These trends are:‌

  1. AI PAs: The rise of “AI PAs” for corporate travellers, born from the Gen AI shift, streamlines travel tasks with intelligent, 24/7 assistance, handling everything from complex bookings to itinerary advice with friendly, responsive interactions.
  2. Executive field trips: Strategic getaways are on the rise, moving beyond traditional teambuilding days to longer, nature-based trips with immersive experiences, in domestic locations as well as abroad.
  3. Objective stacking: As sustainability and cost concerns grow, “Objective Stacking” becomes key – trips planned to achieve multiple goals, maximising efficiency. Business travelers blend work with client meetings, reconnaissance, and even leisure, reflecting a shift in corporate travel mindset.
  4. Blended itineraries: Corporate travel policies evolve in 2024, prioritising employee experience with personalised, relaxed travel options that go beyond traditional ‘bleisure’ trips, incorporating leisure seamlessly into business travel.
  5. Net zero heroes: Corporate travel embraces sustainability, aligning with global climate goals. Corporates commit to or plan for net-zero carbon emissions, integrating environmental objectives into their travel strategies.
  6. Digitised expenses: Corporate finance enters the digital age, replacing manual expense management with streamlined digital processes and virtual cards, enhancing user experience, data security, and policy compliance.
  7. Power networking: A hyper-focused approach to networking emerges, maximising every opportunity for connections. Business travelers craft richer itineraries, prioritising meetings and networking outside core agendas for more meaningful engagements.

Jenny Southan, CEO and founder of Globetrender, stated: “When looking at the future of business travel in 2024, it’s clear that two macro shifts are happening in parallel: technology is making the planning and execution of trips ever-more seamless; but there is also a desire to ‘go back to basics’, which is manifesting in nature-based corporate retreats and the revival of ‘power lunches’.

“This highlights the enduring value of human connection in building good business relationships. Ultimately, every journey needs to be optimised to justify the return on investment, and the subsequent carbon impact of flying.

“If there is one word to sum up business travel in 2024, that will be ‘discernment’. Employees no longer want to sacrifice areas of their personal lives to be constantly on the road, and companies need to balance the fulfilment of financial and ESG targets, which will mean all parties need to be more selective about what trips they commit to.”

Deborah Mahoney, head of sales, and business development – Americas, Amadeus Cytric Solutions, said: “Face-to-face meetings have many benefits, from increasing social capital to fostering ideas and engaging in more complex thinking together. In-person contact provides a competitive advantage when it comes to meeting clients and customers, as real conversations can generate more effective, efficient, and trust-building interactions.”

Mahoney added that value is key when it comes to business travel, where a trip must fufil multiple objectives, be increasingly sustainable, simple to book, and have a positive impact on both the employee and organisation for it to be worth the time and money investment.

The full report can be found here.

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