The travel industry is facing a mixed outlook for 2024, according to a new report by BCD Travel, a leading global travel management company. The report, which covers economic prospects, key risks, projected prices for air, hotel, and car rental, sustainable travel trends, and more, offers insights and recommendations for corporate travel programs.
One of the main findings of the report is that airfares are expected to drop globally by 0.8% in 2024, as demand and capacity remain uneven across different regions. However, hotel rates are forecasted to increase by 6.8% on average, as hoteliers prioritize profitability over occupancy and limit availability of rooms.
The report also warns of various risks that could affect business travel in 2024, such as climate change, cybersecurity, geopolitics, health, polarized politics and rising crime. BCD’s Global Crisis Management team advises travel managers to monitor these risks and stay abreast of any changes to legislation that might directly affect their travelers.
Jorge Cruz, executive vice president of Global Sales & Marketing at BCD, said that travel buyers need to adapt to the changing market conditions and review their travel policies and their travelers’ booking behaviors to lower the overall cost of their travel programs.
“Over the past two years, airfares have increased significantly,” Cruz said. “As a result, using savings as a performance measure has been almost impossible for travel buyers. We advise companies to review their travel policies and their travelers’ booking behaviors to lower the overall cost of their travel programs.”
Cruz also said that hotels have adopted more sophisticated techniques for revenue and yield management in recent years, making it harder for business travelers to find available rooms at preferred rates.
“While it’s important for travel buyers to negotiate good rates, it’s equally important for those rates to be available when needed,” Cruz said. “Otherwise, they end up paying market rates, which will increase the cost of their hotel programs in 2024.”
The report also covers other topics, such as sustainable travel trends, car rental prices, and regional variations in travel demand and supply. One of the key trends highlighted in the report is the growing importance of environmentally sustainable travel for corporate travel programs.
According to the report, two-thirds of travel buyers consider environmentally sustainable travel to be very or extremely important. And almost half have formal goals in place to make corporate travel more sustainable. But travel managers will need to do more, particularly in light of sustainability developments expected for 2024, like new emissions regulations.
“The EU’s Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive will come into effect in 2024, expanding on existing corporate sustainability disclosures,” Cruz added. “With the U.K., Australia and possibly the U.S. likely to follow, travel suppliers and their corporate clients should anticipate greater demands for data and transparency around their emissions.”
The full report is available on BCD’s website.