South African businesses are all set to go global, but they're bumping into higher price tags that might have them thinking twice about the next face-to-face meeting. The latest global travel trend research from the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) shows a massive 47% leap in corporate travel spending in 2022. 

Budgets are being stretched thin, and the burning question on everyone’s mind is, what’s fuelling this rise in travel expenses, and how can firms steer back into a financial comfort zone? 

Bonnie Smith, GM of Corporate Traveller, takes us through the landscape of factors causing South African business travel costs to soar – and what to do about it. 

The hunger for face-to-face meetings

Smith indicates there’s a huge pent-up demand from employees who are all geared to trade the virtual meeting rooms for real-life handshakes. Although online tools bridge the gap, they need to catch up to the charm of in-person interactions with clients, partners, and teammates. 

The craving for business travel is bumping heads with a short supply of airline seats and hotel rooms.  

This mismatch is giving suppliers the green light to jack up prices. Scoring corporate discounts has now become a high-stakes game for travel managers, especially with business and economy class fares feeling the heat. 

How Corporate Traveller can help:

Every year, we roll up our sleeves and negotiate deals on your behalf that you might not be able to access on your own. We’ve got incredible global connections in the travel industry to secure budget-friendly flights, and hotel stays so you can have those in-person meetings without busting your budget.

The big economic stir 

The bill doesn't stop at flights and hotels. Broader economic factors like a snag in oil supply and good ol’ inflation are also joining the party. Capacity cutbacks mean a full array of travel services isn't always on the menu. So now, South African companies are shelling out more for the same business trip services than in 2019. 

How Corporate Traveller can help:

Corporate Traveller can help you craft a travel policy that dials bills down. Like encouraging travellers to go for the best-priced flights and share rooms whenever it makes sense.

Get the scoop on business travel trends and ways to reduce your travel costs by downloading our report today.

Mixing business with pleasure: the new expense recipe 

Smith highlights an interesting shift in how people are blending business with leisure. Remote and hybrid work setups have made it easier for travellers to stretch their business trips into mini-holidays. "Bleisure" trips are now a thing, leading to more requests for weekend hotel stays and flight reschedules, which means more expenses piling up on the company. 

Furthermore, the 2023 employee values comfort, convenience, and flexibility when travelling. They may request a plush seat on a business-class flight, a comfy bed in a high-end hotel, and a smooth ride in an executive car, even when the budget leans towards economy options. 

How Corporate Traveller can help:  

Corporate Traveller can recommend and implement user-friendly expense reporting tools that allow travellers to report their expenses for business and leisure activities easily. This streamlines the reimbursement process and ensures accurate expense tracking. 

We can also provide employees guidance and education on managing their bleisure expenses responsibly. This includes understanding company policies, knowing what can be billed to the company, and how to differentiate between business and leisure expenses. 

Hitting snags in the booking lane 

What else could be going wrong in your quest for affordable business travel? Old-school administrative processes are adding to the headache. Manual booking and reimbursement systems are paving the way for last-minute, and often pricier, travel arrangements, while the lack of integrated reporting is putting a fog on expenditure oversight. 

How Corporate Traveller can help:

Corporate Traveller saves you money on travel by using modern solutions like updated booking tools, pre-trip approvals, and mobile expense reporting to ensure cost-effective and policy-compliant travel arrangements while simplifying expense tracking and reimbursement. 

An alliance with Corporate Traveller can be your guiding star in tackling these price challenges head-on. "With the marked rise in South African business travel spending, taking steps like re-evaluating demand, negotiating afresh with suppliers, fine-tuning policies, and making data your friend is crucial. However, this isn’t a solo mission. Teaming up with Corporate Traveller can change the game. With the perks of discounted rates, simplified booking procedures, in-depth reporting, and support for travellers, reining in costs is a horizon within sight," she says.

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