In today’s globalized world, it is unusual to find someone who has not had to take a business trip, be it abroad or domestic. It doesn’t appear that this trend in travel is about to slow down anytime soon, but instead is set to increase exponentially as organizations continue to open offices abroad or merge with other conglomerates.
Some companies have differing policies when it comes to business trips, but often employees are able to extend their trips in to long weekends so that they get to explore the city they have been sent to for meetings. After all, it is rather disappointing to make it all the way to Paris, France just to turn around and go home the next day. Hence, some employees are turning these in to mini-vacations.
There are some trends in business travel that have begun to arise in the travel process itself when it comes to booking flights or hotels, seeing if it is possible to recover VAT, interacting on social media, price checking, and cyber security.
More and more travelers are using their smartphones to download apps such as booking.com, Skyscanner, and Groupon to have all of their needs met in one tap. One no longer need to sit down at a computer and filter through all of the sites separately but can instead can simply book everything needed for an upcoming trip while riding the train or walking to the office.
According to Google, around 79% of travelers who had smartphones used them to complete a travel-related booking. This has increased by 9% from 2016 when it was reported that only 70% of smartphone users had made a travel related booking via their phones. If one wants to make the process even more efficient, then they can use VAT software to quickly calculate how much reclaimable VAT is available from the booking. Essentially, all travel needs are a click away.
Social Media Interaction
With the creation of social media platforms like Instagram, Twitter, and the app Snapchat, social media interaction has become a quintessential part of the travel experience. Most travelers enjoy documenting their trips through selfies uploaded as Insta stories, or through Snapchats sent to friends. Business travelers in particular, and not just those who consider themselves social media ‘influencers’, are uploading their travel experiences, from pictures of their business class seats to the hotels they have been booked in to for conferences and meetings.
Price Checking for Flights and Hotels
Just as apps are used for booking, they are now being used to conduct cost-benefit analyses across a variety of booking agencies for flights and hotels. Getting the best deal — even if it is on the company’s tab — is still of great importance to the business traveler. Travelers can now compare the various amenities hotels have to offer, as well as different prices for the same hotel or flight connections and get the best possible deal and routing available. The best part is that they can also be booked from the apps performing the price checking, which makes it even more convenient.
Rising Cyber Security Interests
Business travelers are not your typical leisure traveler and often come with confidential information that can be subject to corporate espionage in the form of hacking. Hence, they need to make sure that wherever they are staying there is a secure Wi-Fi and Bluetooth network for them to connect to. They also need to make sure that the facilities have the necessary safes in place to store their electronics when not in use.
Automated VAT Processing
VAT software is another great travel tool that business travelers have begun to utilize, as have their employers. Once the information has been input for all of the travel expenses, it is quickly able to calculate how much the return should be, and then automate the entire process. This means that all expenses are quickly audited and assessed for the maximum VAT claim. Automated VAT software is something that all companies with a large base of traveling employees should use in order to make sure they recoup the most amount of VAT possible, and thus save on travel expenses.