5 Travel Trends for 2017 — and Beyond

Rising attendee costs, alternative accommodations, and three other developments that should be on your radar.

Panning view of an airplane taking off or landingOur 16th Annual Meetings Industry Forecast includes five travel trends that show staying power:

1. Attendee costs will grow in some places. Not only are business-travel per diems rising, but the cost per attendee is expected to increase between 3 and 6 percent in North America and Asia-Pacific in 2017, while costs will decrease by 10 percent in Latin America and remain flat in Europe.

2. More tools to manage travel risk will be available. Due to security issues and instability around the globe, travel planners are seeking ever more solid risk-management plans for both people and the equipment and data they carry, such as comprehensive insurance and the ability to track and communicate with employees in real time. Expect new insurance products and increasingly sophisticated software to address these risks.

3. Bleisure matures. More companies are embracing “bleisure” to attract and retain employees, allowing them to bring along family members on business travel or extend a trip for personal time. In 2015, 67 percent of travelers told the GBTA Foundation that it was important to extend their business travel for leisure, and 36 percent had done so in the last 12 months.

4. Alternative accommodations are going mainstream. Airbnb reported a revenue increase of 89 percent between July 2015 and July 2016, and is pointedly targeting business travelers — so third-party providers will keep hatching solutions to help travel managers keep tabs on attendees who book and stay in alt-accommodations.

5. Low-cost carriers are expanding routes. With large air carriers consolidating routes, especially in North America, low-cost airlines are taking up the slack for underserved cities, hiring big guns to help them grow and keeping airfares level in the process. For instance, OneJet — which flies between several Midwestern and Southern cities, including a new route between Pittsburgh and Cincinnati — recently scored the former CEO of Virgin America for its board. Spirit Airlines increased its capacity by 25 percent in 2015. Yet when it comes to air ratings, some low-cost carriers have room for improvement.

SOURCES: 2017 Global Travel Price Outlook, GBTA Foundation + Carlson Wagonlit Travel, convn.org/gbta-forecast; 2017 Industry Forecast, Advito, convn.org/advito-2017; Business Travel News, convn.org/btnforecast-2016; Concur, concur.com

Corin Hirsch

Corin Hirsch is associate editor of Convene.