At Bus.com, we keep an eye on how passengers are travelling, particularly those who are travelling for business. We’re fascinated by the travel industry, and like to stay up-to-date on the trends of the corporate sector. Here’s what we’re seeing. Overall, there’s a move towards flexible, simple, and cost-effective travel—and it has to be comfortable. The ability to travel is a big draw for employees, and hiring managers are responding by providing business trips that are congenial to candidates’ demands. Below you’ll find a detailed account of our observations:

Small and Medium Businesses (SMBs) are Planning More Business Travel

Business travel isn’t just for Fortune 500s. With the rise of startup culture, more SMBs are incorporating travel into their operations and increasing their buying power in the corporate travel industry. Transportation providers need to respond to the needs of companies with fewer than 100 employees. Vehicle options, like charter buses, that are scalable in size and therefore becoming important providers. Travel managers for SMBs can benefit from mini coach bus rentals, which hold up to 30 people, or coach buses, which hold up to 55. Companies can partner with other companies to fill a single bus, or rent multiple charter buses to transport their entire workforce.

Millennials Prefer Flexible Travel Options Over Loyalty Programs

Loyalty programs that reward return customers once held the attention of business travellers, but that trend is a thing of the past. As millennials are flooding into the workforce, their methods of booking travel must be accommodated by providers. A 2018 survey by TripActions showed that 20.28% of travellers don’t belong to loyalty programs. That chunk of travellers is made up of millennials who are more likely to select their transportation providers based on what is more efficient, convenient, and cost-effective than out of brand loyalty. To accommodate this need, providers must be flexible and provide customizable transportation options.

Millennial corporate travel trends.

Executives Favour Smarter Travel

Executives, an increasing amount of whom are millennials, agree with their millennial workforce. They’re looking for customizable, cost-effective travel options to transport their employees and themselves. The age of business class airfare is waning. Travel costs must come down. These days, executives are saving on travel, not by cutting down, but by travelling smarter. They want their employees to be comfortable while they’re on the road, while trimming costs. Chartering a bus to do an efficient route is preferable to buying tickets on intercity common carriers. With a charter bus, travel budgets decrease by providing direct routes for employees, rather than sending them on long predetermined routes.

Simplicity is Key

Things are changing in the business world, but one thing stays the same: Time = money. When you’re saving time, you’re saving money, so simple travel solutions are very important to corporate travel managers. This is especially true of SMBs that don’t usually have the staff to dedicate to booking travel. Employees are often responsible for planning their own transportation and accommodation so they need simple, intuitive ways of getting travel deals. That simplicity is achieved with technology that understands users’ experience and doesn’t require learning time. Bus.com’s booking tool is a good example. The tool searches a North America-wide network of 2300 bus operators to find the most efficient and budget-friendly bus, generating a personalized charter bus quote in less than two minutes.

Travellers Still Prefer Human Customer Service

Despite the fact that more technology is available to corporate travel managers, human interaction is still very important to the booking process. No one likes talking to a robot. Travellers need a real life person with empathy and complex problem solving skills to respond to their needs. Real people can listen, learn, respond, and care about the desires and frustrations of their clientele. Bus.com customer support representatives (who have confirmed beating hearts) are available 24/7. They can help you solve travel problems before, during, and after your trip.

Corporate travel trends include face-to-face meetings.

Face-to-Face Meetings are Better than Remote Calls

With the rise of meeting technologies and online communications platforms, remote work is becoming an option for many employees. Parents can work from home on sick days, managers can tend to emergencies during vacation, and freelancers can pop in only when they’re needed. But even with the possibility for communication, face-to-face meetings are still highly valued. So despite it being easier than ever not to travel for business, people are still doing it. Good news for the corporate travel industry!

Travel is becoming an enticement for employees

Recruiters are very busy people these days. More and more employees are needed to support this massive workforce and there is steep competition for those top candidates. Employers have to have some pretty good perks to entice potential employees, and travel opportunities are becoming one of the recruiter’s most valuable assets. Travel for business is a great way to see the world and get paid for doing it. If employers can offer it, they’re in a great position for hiring.

Bleisure Culture

“Bleisure” is a terrible term for a terrific trend. Definition: travel for business and leisure. More and more employees are looking for ways to capitalize on their ability to travel. Say an employee is travelling from Pittsburgh to New York for a conference. The conference is on Friday and Saturday. The employee could return on Saturday evening, or they could tack on a few extra days to enjoy Broadway and the Empire State Building. Should they make this choice, they’re engaging in bleisure. They are also in need of flexible travel solutions that can be tailored to this impulse to see the world.

Corporate travel trends 2019.

Sustainability in Travel

According to Booking.com’s sustainability report, 55% of travellers say they want to make sustainable travel choices. It turns out, a packed bus is the third most energy efficient way to travel, behind only walking and biking. Not bad. Companies are beginning to take their employees’ green desires into account, and looking into sustainable modes of transportation. Everyone wins when green travel choices are made, because 14% of greenhouse gases are emitted from the transportation industry.

How does Bus.com fit in?

Bus.com doesn’t exist in a bubble. Our tools and services respond to the needs of clients. That’s why keeping track of corporate travel trends and responding accordingly is so important. While Bus.com facilitates online booking, simplifies charter bus travel, and provides human service, its most valuable asset for the corporate travellers of 2019 is flexibility! When you charter a bus, you decide on the route and schedule. And with the Book Now, Pay Later policy, you can book your bus early for the best rate, then wait to pay until 21 days before departure.