Every year brings new trends across the travel and expense industry, and the COVID-19 pandemic has added new priorities for companies and their employees. The industry may experience erratic surges and declines in demand as the pandemic continues, but there are a few trends that will inevitably impact business travel in 2021.
Contactless payments have started to grow in popularity over the last couple of years, and the COVID-19 pandemic significantly increased the traction around this technology. Businesses and travelers are more concerned with hygiene and safety than ever, and travelers are looking for ways to pay for travel-related expenses that minimize physical contact, including using a mobile device or card with contact-free technology. Sixty-seven percent of travelers believe that the use of contactless payment systems is the most important regulatory measure to ensure safe travel amid COVID-19, according to a May 2020 BCD Travel survey of 1,260 business travelers.
Digital booking tools for travelers
Skift’s “State of Business Travel 2020” report found that many business travelers have a growing desire to use digital booking and trip management tools for their work trips. Travelers want to make reservations for business travel with the same ease and convenience as the tools they may use to plan leisure trips, meaning companies will need to offer their employees streamlined methods to manage reservations and check in to hotels. Interactive and graphical capabilities, and integrated mapping, are also becoming increasingly important to travelers, who are looking more to visual cues and information while booking.
Skift’s research also reported that 76% of travelers pay for trip expenses with a personal card, which can lead to financial hardship for employees, and overly complicated expense reports for travel managers. Travelers and employers may seek easier ways to pay for costs incurred while traveling like lodging, meals and fuel.
Increased cleaning expectations and protocols
Travelers in BCD’s survey rated enhanced cleaning protocols in hotels as extremely or very important to ensuring safe travel. The American Hotel and Lodging Association released a new initiative called Safe Stay early this year, which focuses on enhanced cleaning practices, social interactions, and workplace protocols to meet the new health and safety challenges presented by COVID-19.
Extended-stay lodging: Here to stay
Extended-stay lodging options have proven their resiliency during COVID-19. Companies, including the hotel group that owns CLC’s partner hotel, Sheraton, have found that extended-stay options have significantly outperformed other hotel segments throughout the pandemic. Red Lion Hotels, another of CLC Lodging’s partner hotel groups, even recently announced that it is launching a new extended-stay option.
CLC Lodging has solutions to help companies with teams that travel stay on top of the trends.
CLC Lodging offers tools to optimize your investment in travel in 2021 and enhance your employees’ travel experience.
- Digital booking solutions: CLC members have multiple ways to book a reservation, so travelers can minimize physical check-in and payment contact at hotels. Members can book hotels, flights and rental cars online at clclodging.com, or using CLC’s mobile app, which can be downloaded on the Apple App or Google Play Store. Members can also call a hotelsor the traveler support team at CLC to book a hotel stay!
- Traveler support and safety: CLC’s lodging and reservation experts are available 24/7 for traveler support. Our Duty of Care features, including our interactive Traveler Tracker hotel reservation mapping, help companies locate their teams in case of emergency.
- Extended-stay lodging options: CLC’s corporate apartment options offer travelers a place to stay for trips longer than 30 days. Companies can give employees the amenities and space they need to live their normal lives away from home. CLC also has a program dedicated to companies with longer-term, project based travel delivering negotiated hotel projects, rooming lists and full service lodging management
Becoming a CLC Lodging member is free and takes just minutes to join at clclodging.com or call our Sale specialists at 1-866-369-4755