Last year, Digiday interviewed me on the state of business travel. Due to the travel lag post Covid-19, business travel had suffered — but it’s come back twofold. Millions of business travelers are flying cross state and country for business-related events and meetings — though the rules for business travelers have changed for 2024.
Business travel is considered travel related to work, but if you’re a business traveler, you know it’s also a lifestyle. A fun one.
As business travelers, we enter a whole other world that’s somewhat esoteric. We speak a different language non-business travelers don’t understand, and we adapt to this lifestyle in ways that make our little group thrive. Travel brands and companies build platforms, incentives and programs around us because we’re the ones who care about them. For instance, we obsess over frequent flier programs and strive to qualify for the highest tiers in an airlines program (and there’s plenty of people who religiously geek out on airline points and miles blogs), so airlines keep their plans competitive to cater to us.
We also keep tabs on hotel loyalty programs and love to share our experiences. There’s a certain kind of satisfaction for us business travelers when we successfully use our knowledge and miles to get a business class upgrade, or our strategic loyalty to a hotel gets us a suite on a business trip.
The business traveler lifestyle goes beyond hotel and airline awards programs. We’re constantly meeting new faces in business meetings, taking clients out in hot spots, and getting to finally give the presentation we spent weeks on rehearsing. This gives us a thrill that’s infectious, making us eager to plan our next trips. Naturally, accumulating points on credit cards, airline loyalty programs and hotel stays drives conversations among us, and there’s nothing cooler than being able to carve out time from your work trip to explore a destination. That’s the beauty of a business traveler lifestyle: you get the best of both worlds (work and play).
While business travel has slowed down for the time being, business traveler road warriors keep the lifestyle alive, and they’re seeing dramatic changes. If you’re a die-hard business traveler who’s ready to get back in the game, be sure to be safe when you travel, and just so you’re not surprised when you hit the road, don’t forget these 3 new rules for business travelers right now.
3 new rules for business travelers in 2024
Travel requires more planning and research now.
If you’re hitting the road, you have to consider many variables, such as flights and hotels, which is always a given. For 2024, it’s imperative you do your research on where and when you want to go to an event or conference – and WHERE. This is because 2024 is the year of major, worldwide events, such as Olympics 2024, Superbowl in Las Vegas, solar eclipse in America and many more major events that will affect airfare, hotel nights and more.
Of course, it would make sense to look at vacation rentals and Airbnbs vs hotels, which will help your options. We’re already seeing hotels along the path of eclipse in America in April quadruple the rate, if not sold out. If you’re choosing a place to do your event, be sure to be mindful of the other events taking place. Some people may not make it if airfare is high.
If you plan on attending an event, be sure to lock in prices and tickets now before airfare rises.
Car rentals will continue to be expensive due to the shortage – budget accordingly.
For business travelers, be mindful of car rentals. Rental fleets were sold during Covid, so there were practically no cars to rent, and if they are, you can still expect to pay almost double what you did pre Covid-19.
Be prepared to spend a lot more on car rentals, and let your managers know that this is going to be a new change to business travel for the time being. Budget accordingly. If there’s serious shortage in the destination you’re going to, try other alternatives, like Zipcar.
In many destinations, you can now rent cars with Lyft, and car dealerships are known to rent out their fleet.
Hotels have changed for business travelers — and they’re more expensive — so be prepared.
The hotel brand you loved for their fresh made hotel breakfast now likely offers a vending machine-grade muffin and a bottle of water. This is because a lot of hotels have increased safety, and there is also the labor shortage. Also, as I mentioned in my 7 emerging travel trends to expect in 2023, hotel rates are skyrocketing due to inflation, recession, making up for lost profit, and almost everything else combined.
Ultimately, since hotels were hit hard by the pandemic, they’re *still* recovering, meaning you might not get the bells and whistles you received for service in the past. A good example is a hotel I checked into in March 2021. The five-star hotel usually has backbending service, a bevvy of staff greeting you, and a host of other warm and pleasant amenities for any guest arriving. However, when I checked in, only one person greeted me from a distance, and I did my check in in my hotel room. Hotels are still cutting back on costs.
One tip for business travelers is to search for newly opened hotels, where introductory rates are low.
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