3 Trends That Will Shape Corporate Travel In 2023

Travellers have encountered more disruption in 2022 than ever before. But how are their experiences shaping the world of business travel?

 Danielle Jones, Country Manager, Australia / New Zealand at AirPlus shares her thoughts.


The year 2022 marked the “re-start of travel" for most of the world. And while both AirPlus customers and the wider travel industry were relieved, it hasn’t been completely smooth sailing so far.

“We came into 2022 with no way to predict what was going to happen,” Danielle Jones at AirPlus explains. “But from June travel demand shot up above 2019 levels almost immediately.”

"According to our travel agency partners, replacing the huge number of staff who left the industry has been difficult, leading to less available and more expensive flights for travellers." explains Danielle. "Customers are having to expand their travel budget by up to 30% compared to travelling in 2019, due to these global price increases."

Corporates also need to prepare for disruptions as the lingering pandemic continues to force airlines to delay or cancel flights. One day in July 2022 raked up more than 25,000 flight delays and 3,100 cancellations around the world.

“Certainty in travel is no longer a given. This means that those travellers re-entering the skies rely more heavily on the corporate travel supply network than ever before, and I am proud to say that our network has truly stepped up to the task,” says Danielle.

Shifting customer expectations 

To navigate uncertainty, three trends are taking shape in business travel, according to Danielle, who has helped AirPlus and its partners create seamless customer experiences for clients for the past 15 years.

1. Businesses venture outside preferred travel networks for better deals

Setting preferred booking methods and channels give businesses control and visibility over their travel programs and budgets.

But agencies under significant pressure combined with limited flights and skyrocketing prices mean more and more business travellers are looking outside of their existing networks. This often means staff don’t use the centralised payment systems businesses have set up with their suppliers – reducing visibility and control.

“If only 70% of your flights and hotels are going through your corporate travel agency, it leaves room for inefficiencies within your travel program.” Danielle explains.

“Providing self-service tools is key for any corporate travel program, and we have worked with both our travel agency partners and our corporate customers to create ways that travel-bookers, when required, can book directly with travel vendors. Staff can book accommodation on Airbnb, for example, using an AirPlus Virtual Card.  This payment is then centralised back to their Company Account, providing the data and visibility the travel and finance teams require for reconciliation.”

2. Travel technology is driving further efficiencies

Reduced staffing and resources are not just limited to the travel industry. Our customers accounting teams are also stretched to capacity, and are looking to partners like AirPlus to help support. 

"One of the more useful changes to the reconciliation process in travel is the ability to automatically collect and store hotel tax invoices saving our corporates valuable time. AirPlus has now partnered with two technology providers to facilitate this trend," adds Danielle. 

3. A need for less complexity around payment

"We're seeing more of a demand for central payment than ever before. Customers are approaching us to support them to reduce the number of corporate cards in hand, in order to reduce exposure," says Danielle.

Many organisations with contractors, subcontractors or non-employees travelling on their behalf face more complexity than those with corporate employees. These businesses are looking for ways to make payment easier for these travellers while also retaining control.

“Being able to access the AirPlus Virtual Card program powered by Mastercard, AirPlus customers can limit business exposure and reduce administrative efforts,” Danielle explains.


About the author: Danielle Jones has been working within the travel industry for over two decades. Spending the last 15 years with AirPlus, Danielle is passionate about understanding the challenges and nuances of the travel industry and creating outstanding payment solutions for AirPlus customers. Together with the team at AirPlus within Australia, New Zealand and around the world, Danielle's focus is on new key partnerships that will create real value to the industry.

Is your travel program set up to help your people feel safe, assured and in control while travelling for work?

Are you looking to increase automation in accounts or maybe to reduce your number of corporate cards? Talk to us now to see how we can help.

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