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Business Travel Predictions and Trends in 2019

Business Travel Predictions and Trends in 2019

Business travel is a continually evolving field. Empowered by new technology, travelers and travel managers continue to innovate this field, pushing towards more flexibility, control, and visibility. With the busiest expense day of the year in the rearview mirror and 2019 just a few short days away, it’s time to take a look at what to expect in the coming year.

A recent blog from SAP Concur explored this exact topic, discussing some of the most important trends to watch, ranging from the continued focus on duty of care for female travelers, data privacy’s role in global business environment, and the continued push towards consumerization of business travel and the role it plays. As we brace for the coming year, we’d like to share some of the insights and predictions mentioned in their blog.

The Continued Imperative: Protecting Female Business Travelers

Women make up more than 40% of all business travelers and that number is growing. However, these travelers face unique risks compared to their male counterparts, and few travel safety policies are designed to address these needs.

Tax Policies Set to Change Business Travel

In 2019, there will be a growing focus on business travelers as a source of tax revenue, which has created new challenges for companies that send employees to conduct business across state and/or international borders.

However, this isn’t without a unique set of challenges globally, as it has created an increasingly complex net of regulations that global businesses will need to address. Visa rules will present tax concerns, and many states are performing more audits; businesses will need to have more visibility than ever on who is doing what and where.

Booking Still Presents a Challenge, But Consumerization May Help

According to prior research, almost 50% of business travelers take between 30 minutes and one hour out of the working day when completing expenses, while 18% spend between one and two hours. This holds companies back, and some travel managers are looking at ways to address this, including:

  • Anticipatory searches based on calendar information
  • Pre-request approval based historical information
  • Automatic classification of business vs leisure expense for trips involving both components (bleisure trips now constitute 10% of all business trips)

Additionally, the push towards consumerization has made booking more user friendly, but has also presented visibility challenges. Online Booking Tools will embrace new content sources to drive adoption, such as Lufthansa NDC Offers, Airbnb, and HRS Hotel Portal. They must also fundamentally evolve their platforms to allow travel managers to capture all bookings, regardless of where they occur, to manage compliance and ensure their travelers are safe.

Collaboration between CIO and CFO to Become Tighter

Focusing on making larger investments to support their automated technology projects—from cloud adoption to the deployment of AI and machine learning solutions will be critical. The collaboration fostered between CIOs and CFOs in the coming year will enable state and local governments to strike a balance between their IT budgets and their IT priorities. Read all ten predictions here.

Ring in the New Year with Smarter TEM from SAP Concur

At Wipfli, we have worked with SAP concur for the better part of the last decade to deliver their advanced, flexible, and functional travel expense management platform to our customers. Learn more about our work, our innovations and integrations, and contact us for more information.


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