Explore the Top 2023 Blogs for Clues on 2024 Business Travel Trends

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5 min read

JOHANNESBURG – Sustainability, safety, and savings – these pressing issues took centre stage for corporate travel in South Africa in 2023. FCM’s most-read blogs this year offered a revealing glimpse into the biggest pain points for business travellers and travel managers.

Why the interest in certain hot topics? “Corporate travel is navigating a lot of complexity lately,” says FCM Travel GM Bonnie Smith. “From carbon emissions to data analytics, there’s a steep learning curve for travel managers right now.”

What do these popular blogs tell us? Corporate travel priorities in South Africa are rapidly evolving to meet global trends. Sustainability discussions lit up in 2023, with companies facing rising demands to curb air travel emissions through creative offsets. Bleisure also went mainstream as travellers were interested in injecting some play into business trips. And travel managers realised the need to double down on risk and savings strategies to ensure safe, cost-effective trips.

There’s more to the 2024 crystal ball, and as we enter a new year, these issues raise important questions, says Smith. “How can we turn sustainability pledges into action? How do we blend purpose and profit for better business trips?”

Smith looks at the hottest topics in corporate travel – as revealed by the articles FCM Travel readers clicked on – and what they mean for the year ahead.

Shift happens: Why travel and expense policies need an upgrade for the modern workplace

This blog looked at the need for a makeover of corporate travel and expense policies, and it’s got everyone talking for good reasons.

Smith puts it this way, “Those old-school corporate travel and expense policies? They were made for a time when everyone was glued to their office desks and travel was predictable. But times have changed, and it’s high time we give these policies a fresh coat of paint.”

So, why did this article become such a hit? Well, it’s practical and relatable. It takes on the pain points of dealing with paper-driven processes in a world where remote work and flexible schedules rule. It shines a light on the importance of user-friendly, tech-savvy solutions and the need to cater to the preferences of the younger generation of business travellers. In a nutshell, it’s telling us that in 2024, corporate travel should be all about flexibility, technology, and a dash of personalisation to keep everyone happy.

The big lesson here? Businesses need to roll with the changes in the modern workplace. To stay competitive and keep employees in high spirits, it’s time to give those travel and expense policies a modern makeover.

5 Ways to stretch your rands in the most expensive cities in the world

FCM’s guide on stretching budgets in expensive global cities outlined useful rand-busting tips without compromising duty of care, safety or the overall traveller experience.

The article spotlighted just how extreme costs have climbed. According to ECA, the average cost of a work trip to New York tallied up to an eyewatering cost of, on average, $796 per day. That’s around R14 638.14!

But forewarned is forearmed. What we learned? With some prep work, creativity and insider help from a savvy travel management partner, cost control is possible even in exorbitant locales. The insight for 2024? Continued inflation means getting more bang for bucks will be non-negotiable. Companies keeping travel costs in check through guidance like this will keep their bottom line healthy and travellers smiling.

Business travel dead time? The loophole to escape the always-on work mentality

This insightful blog post confronted the mania around maximising every minute while on work trips, far beyond Dolly Parton’s 9-5 of old. But Smith argues this tendency can backfire: “The need to be productive has become overwhelming. When people travel for work, they feel the pressure to work around the clock and make every minute productive. But this is, in fact, counterproductive.”

The piece revealed this constant busyness can hamper trip goals and cause burnout. Instead, savvy corporates will make downtime their me-time, plan time off (hello bleisure!) and use any ‘dead time’ to strategise or study (bring the notebook to jot down ideas). With just a mindset shift, that dead time can turn into something meaningful, free from guilt or stress.

Key insight? Encourage employees to embrace downtime guilt-free. The mental health benefits will show in better work and happier travellers all around. Expect duty of care considerations in 2024 to include ample downtime defence.

Innovations to expect in business travel in 2023

Another key blog post was the innovations of note in 2023, which included contactless travel and biometric recognition, VR and AR, traveller tracking and mobile apps, and even how to keep track of lost baggage (thank goodness, the lost baggage mountains of 2022 seem to be behind us!)

This forward-looking blog spotlighted how tech can help us work smarter, not harder. In short, think personalisation and simplicity. These upgrades also provide vital back-end support. Centralised approval flows, automated policy compliance, and consolidated data analytics saves travel managers precious time while enhancing duty of care.

Key lesson? Cutting-edge tech is making business travel sharper than ever.

The NDC explained: what it really means for the corporate traveller

It’s not much of a surprise that the The NDC explained: what it really means for the corporate traveller? was a top performing blog for FCM Travel. The buzz around NDC couldn’t have been any louder in 2023! Research from Business Travel Show revealed that one in five buyers (18%) believe the NDC offers more transparency with pricing, but boy, did it generate debate. On the sustainability front, NDC is a perk – enabling carbon-conscious flight comparisons and greener choices all around.

Even forward-focussed travel managers faced a firehose of new conundrums in 2023 – but as FCM’s review revealed, practical problems have practical high-tech solutions. Don’t be afraid of doing things differently – and reap the rewards. Here’s looking forward to 2024!