Six business travel trends in 2023

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Six business travel trends in 2023

[Credit: Rob Wilson on Unsplash]

[SPONSORED CONTENT] Cvent highlights some key findings from its latest Travel Manager Report and how venues can best capture demand in 2023.

Corporate travel is, apparently, back! According to the new Cvent Travel Manager Report: Europe Edition December 2022, corporate travel managers seek value, sustainability, and cost-cutting opportunities in 2023.

The challenge for hotel teams is to show they have the facilities and technology to handle demand and put their venues at the front of the queue.

Cvent commissioned Censuswide, an independent research company, to survey 514 corporate travel decision-makers in the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, and the Netherlands, between October 20th and November 2nd, 2022. Here’s what they found:

1. Business travel will be robust and international

In total, 72 per cent of travel managers expect their business travel volume to increase either somewhat (46 per cent) or significantly (26 per cent) in 2023, when compared to 2019. Just 13 per cent say they will likely see a decrease in the travel volume of their business in 2023 relative to 2019.

Supplier takeaway

With three in 10 travel managers expecting business travel to grow significantly in 2023 compared to 2019, and a further 46 per cent believing it will increase to some extent, the opportunity for hotels is clear. Venue teams must ensure they’re engaging now with travel managers – and be prepared to respond to an influx of RFPs.

Download the full report for country-specific data, charts, and additional commentary.

2. Rising costs spur budget increases 

Eighty-one per cent in total say their budget will rise, including 26 per cent who predict it will increase significantly. Only around one in six travel managers (15 per cent) believe their budget will decrease.

Set against the expectation of budget rises is a predicted increase in travel costs. In fact, 83 per cent of travel managers believe costs will be higher in 2023 than they were in 2019, with around a third of them (33 per cent) believing prices will increase significantly.

Supplier takeaway

Hotels must now focus on available opportunities to increase revenue per visitor. With fewer people travelling but more events planned, providing incentives for people to spend on expenses or from their own pockets is vital. Use of technology can help venues understand what experiences and additional services visitors would like them to provide.

3. Travel managers have new needs when sourcing hotels 

With budgets under pressure due to rising costs, travel managers are increasingly asking whether trips are truly necessary, and how each one fits into a new formula of cost and value.

Almost half (46 per cent) of travel managers say they are more closely assessing whether a business trip is needed. Once they’re certain it is – with the option of virtual events also available as an alternative – they rigorously compare hotels on a shifting set of priorities: cost, flexibility and sustainability.

Supplier takeaway

Once the decision is made, new factors come into play during the sourcing process. Hotels should pay heed to these changing priorities. With choice revolving around price, flexibility and sustainability, venues must demonstrate their value for every element to keep ahead of their competition.

4. Demand for sustainable travel takes off

An environmentally aware approach to business travel programmes is front-of-mind for many travel buyers. Ensuring a level of sustainability in decision-making is a key part of sourcing strategies – third only in the list of planning priorities (37 per cent) that are now more important than they were pre-pandemic.

Sustainability is also having a direct impact on choice of venue. In total, 89 per cent of travel managers say this factor influences which hotels they book as part of programmes, with almost a third of them (32 per cent) claiming sustainability concerns play a significant part in selection.

Supplier takeaway

Organisations in many sectors are keen to demonstrate a commitment to sustainability – corporate travel is no different. With a large majority of travel managers prioritising environmentally-friendly options when sourcing for programmes, hotels that can showcase their sustainable practices, awards, or facilities on platforms like Cvent Transient, will have the edge in 2023.

5. Interest in dual or dynamic rates increasing

Cvent’s Travel Managers Report – Europe Edition, published in June 2022, revealed almost two-thirds of travel managers (62 per cent) were open to discussing dual or dynamic rates.

In our latest study, even more (69 per cent) say their interest in such an approach has increased for the 2023 RFP season, with 20 per cent of that total stating their openness to dual or dynamic rates has risen significantly. Travel buyers in Spain are the most interested (80 per cent), although a large minority of those in the UK (38 per cent) remain to be convinced.

Supplier takeaway

Interest in dual and dynamic rates as a way to make corporate travel and venue hire more cost-effective is clear. To win business in what will certainly be a competitive market in 2023, hotels must understand their potential customers’ rate strategy and expectations.

6. Travel buyers also plan events 

It might not come as a shock to discover that 90 per cent of travel buyers are also the people responsible for planning. Travel managers in Italy are the most likely to also have oversight of event planning as part of their remit (98 per cent).

Supplier takeaway

It’s vital to take note of the full list of duties that travel buyers oversee. Post-pandemic, many have several hats to wear: 46 per cent have assumed dual remits since 2020. Venue teams should enter negotiations fully on top of the detail of business travel sourcing and event sourcing information, to present a compelling and competitive case to win hearts and minds – and the business.

Want the country specific data, graphs, and even more commentary? Download the Cvent Travel Manager Report: Europe Edition December 2022! 

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