2019 has been a record year for business
travel in South Africa, despite a weak currency and an economy under pressure.
Instead of cutting back on business travel, companies focused on finding smart
ways to reduce their spend with the help of travel professionals.

Andrew Grunewald, Flight Centre Business
Travel Brand Leader, explains that he foresees that the corporate travel market
will continue to grow in South Africa in the year ahead.

He shares his view on the main trends to
expect in this space for 2020:

  1. An increased focus on personalisation

“Personalised service will be a key trend in
2020,” says Grunewald. Merely using a traveller’s first name in the subject
line of a generic e-mail campaign is no longer enough. Modern travellers expect
more: they want a streamlined, seamless and personalised experience.

Also, companies will increasingly look for specialised travel
managers who know the business inside and out and who can make
personalised recommendations that will help grow the company. 

  • Consolidation of travel spend

“Even though we don’t foresee a considerable
increase in prices for accommodation or air travel, corporate travel budgets
will be under pressure in 2020, and the consolidation of spend will become
increasingly important for travel managers,” explains Grunewald.

Whereas in previous years, clients would often
use two or three corporate travel agents and have their travel spend split
across different agents, they are now opting to consolidate this spend with
just one agent, leveraging off corporate agreements and global buying power.
Says Grunewald: “With a more holistic view of the company’s travel spend, it
becomes easier to drive savings through consolidated yields and discounts
instead of looking at the lowest prices for small personal expenditures.”

  • Clever use of analysing your travel trend and
    spend to make strategic decisions

Companies will rely on their travel specialist
to collect and interpret relevant travel data. Grunewald explains that over the
years, travel consultants have become strategic advisors who can give companies
insights on where they can consolidate their spend and how to identify and
address gaps in the travel programme.

In 2020, this role will be further developed,
he says. By analysing the budget and using the right data to investigate a
company’s travel spend, travel management companies (TMCs) will have a unique opportunity
to help companies drive intelligent savings.

  • Bleisure will continue to flourish

A popular buzzword in 2019, bleisure is the conscious
decision by business travellers to add days of leisure travel onto a business
trip. The concept has proven to be more than just a fad and is likely to be
just as popular – if not more – in 2020.

The second annual ‘State of Business Travel Survey’ by
National Car Rental shows that 90% of millennials have engaged in bleisure
travel in the past year compared with 81% of Generation Xers and 80% of baby

Grunewald comments: “Besides the distinct advantages
for the traveller, bleisure travel also has benefits for companies. If the
traveller decides to arrive a few days early to explore the destination ahead
of their meeting, they will be better rested and be able to make a better
impression on the client. Meanwhile, if the business traveller chooses to
prolong their stay, they will be incentivised to work more productively and

  • Growth in the SMME market

2020 will see massive growth in the SMME
market in South Africa, according to Grunewald. SMMEs have the potential to drive economic
growth and employment in South Africa, as indicated by President Ramaphosa
himself. This, in turn, provides opportunities for TMCs with a focus on this
market and who can actively help SMEs grow their business through smarter
business travel.

“It’s an exciting time for SME business travel, and
now, more than ever before, the travel industry is equipped to meet the demand
for flexibility that entrepreneurs and SME’s need to achieve business success,”
he says.

Combined, all these trends reflect one thing, says
Grunewald: although the economic climate will continue to be
challenging in 2020, it will be an exciting year for the corporate travel
space. The travel industry will continue to adapt and innovate to improve the quality of
business trips for travellers.

The post The Top Five Business Travel Trends for 2020 appeared first on Nomad Africa Magazine | Celebrating the world’s richest continent.

Source: Nomad Africa Magazine