Business travel: 10 trends to keep an eye on

Business travel: 10 trends to keep an eye on

12 May 2023
business travel

Business travel is a constantly evolving field, and it’s safe to say that it’s constantly on the move! If you’re a business event organizer, a hotelier or simply a business travel enthusiast, you’ll surely want to be on top of the latest trends. In this article, we’ll explore 10 trends in business travel. Whether you’re interested in cutting-edge technology, immersive experiences or responsible, sustainable events, you’re sure to find something to catch your interest. Get ready to discover a whole new world of business travel!

Cutting-edge technology

Technology continues to play an important role in business travel. Companies are looking for ways to use the latest innovations to enhance the participant experience. For example, real-time networking applications are becoming increasingly popular to allow participants to connect and communicate easily at business events. These applications also allow participants to plan their schedules and register for specific activities in real time.

However, their success varies according to the circumstances and type of event. Tourisme d’Affaires Québec has noted that only around a quarter of participants activate their profile and actually use it at an event. So, in Quebec, there’s still no winning recipe for these applications to be effective. On the other hand, when an international event brings together a very large number of participants, it becomes interesting for creating links between people who don’t know each other at all.

Gamification tools are also used to make events more interactive and fun. Participants can take part in challenges and games to win prizes and rewards. This makes the experience more fun, and also enables companies to collect data on participants’ preferences.

Motion sensors are another interesting technology used in business events. They make it possible to track participants’ behavior and adapt the experience accordingly. For example, organizers can adapt the experience to entertain a participant who is in a queue.

Real-time translation software is also particularly useful for international events. They enable participants to communicate easily, even if they speak different languages. This facilitates communication and strengthens relationships between participants of different cultures and nationalities.

Immersive experiences

Immersive experiences are becoming increasingly popular in business tourism, such as a virtual reality simulation, an augmented reality experience, a multisensory experience etc. They add value to events by offering participants a memorable experience. They add value to events by offering participants a memorable experience. Whether transporting participants into virtual or real environments, immersive experiences create a true sensory experience for those taking part.

This trend also responds to customer demand for unique and original experiences at their business events. Companies can thus offer more exciting events that attract a wider audience and boost participant engagement.

Use of virtual reality

Virtual reality (VR) is a technology that enables users to immerse themselves in virtual environments in real time. This technology is changing the way companies plan and organize business events. Using VR, companies can offer immersive experiences that enable participants to discover environments, products or services in an interactive, real-time way.

For example, at an event, participants can use virtual reality headsets to visit tourist sites or destinations, attend concerts or sporting events, or discover new products or services. Companies can also use VR to create learning or simulation experiences for participants. The benefits of VR are numerous: it enables companies to reduce costs linked to travel and logistics, while offering an immersive and interactive experience for participants.

Use of artificial intelligence

Besides personalizing the experience for participants, artificial intelligence (AI) can also be used to improve the organization and management of events. Organizers can use algorithms to optimize event planning, taking into account participant preferences, time constraints and the availability of different stakeholders. AI can also be used to track participants’ activities and interactions in real time, allowing organizers to better understand participants’ needs and preferences, and respond to their requests in real time.

Chatbots and voice assistants can also be used to help participants navigate the event and answer their questions in real time.

To learn more about AI and see how ChatGPT could transform business travel, read this article.

Responsible and sustainable events

Responsible and sustainable events have become an increasingly important trend in business travel in recent years. Companies are looking to minimize their impact on the environment and support local communities. Event organizers are now working closely with host venues to reduce their carbon footprint by using recyclable products, choosing more environmentally-friendly transport options and opting for eco-friendly accommodation.

Companies also seek to have a positive impact on the local community by choosing local suppliers for services and products, supporting local social initiatives and involving local people in the planning and implementation of the event. These ethical and responsible practices reinforce the company’s image by demonstrating its commitment to sustainable development and social responsibility.

Hybrid events

Hybrid events emerged in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, when all events were held in virtual mode. With the end of sanitary measures, hybrid events enabled participants to attend both face-to-face and virtual events, offering a more flexible and accessible experience to a wider audience. As a growing norm in the business world, this trend offers a solution for maintaining event continuity, even in times of travel restrictions and social distancing. However, it’s important to note that this trend is beginning to show signs of slowing down due to higher costs and management complexity. Organizing a hybrid event is like managing two events at once, which can be a major challenge for many companies.

Original collaborative workspaces

Collaborative workspaces are becoming increasingly popular for meetings and events. Event organizers are looking for original and inspiring venues to encourage creativity and collaboration, and are increasingly looking to surprise participants with unexpected locations. Traditional meeting venues are no longer enough to satisfy participants looking for a different experience. Organizers therefore need to think outside the box and propose atypical venues to meet the growing demand for this type of venue, for example, in a museum, in a cinema for presentations or conferences, or in a vineyard.

Customized programs

Personalized programs are also on the rise, as companies seek to offer a unique experience to each participant. Event organizers can use data-gathering tools to obtain information about each participant’s preferences and interests, in order to personalize their experience based on this information. For example, organizers can use pre-event surveys to gather information on food preferences, entertainment choices and desired activities.

By offering personalized programs, companies can not only provide a more satisfying and memorable experience for each participant, but also reinforce their brand image by showing that they are listening to their customers’ needs and preferences.

Promoting health and well-being

Health and well-being are growing concerns for companies. Participants are looking for events or hotels when they travel, where they can relax, recharge their batteries and take care of themselves. Events and venues focusing on health and well-being can be very attractive to participants.

Activities such as yoga, meditation, workouts, massages, healthy nutrition and relaxation areas are increasingly common in business events.

Importance of the “local” touch

Participants are also looking for events that allow them to discover the local culture. Organizers can meet this demand by offering activities that promote the specific features of the region where the event is taking place. This can include guided tours of historical or cultural sites, tastings of local specialties, regional artistic or musical performances, and much more!

The world of business travel is constantly changing, and it’s essential for companies to keep up to date with the latest trends. Participants are looking for unique events that meet their specific needs. Organizers need to be creative and innovative to deliver memorable experiences. By setting up events that incorporate current trends, companies can not only enhance their reputation, but also strengthen their ties with customers and partners.

So, which trend would you prefer to incorporate into your next business event?

Picture of Océane Ferland

Océane Ferland

Communications and sector watch specialist for Tourisme d'Affaires Québec, Océane has a passion for writing and is constantly on the lookout for the latest industry news. Her expertise in communications enables her to effectively convey recent trends and developments in the sector, helping business tourism professionals stay at the forefront of their activities.

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