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Loyalty and Rewards

Going the Distance: Where Social Media Falls Short

Photo: Courtesy of Sara Kurfeß

Even with video conferencing and social media, one thing remains the same in the modern world of business: nothing can replace a face-to-face meeting. It is still how business gets done.

This year’s forecast

Business travel spending within the United States was projected to reach more than $295 billion in 2015. Total person-trip volume is also on the rise, and a healthier domestic economy and a stronger U.S. dollar make it more affordable for businesses to put travelers on the road.

Businesses aren’t doing this just because they can afford it. They are doing it because they continue to see a strong return on their investment. Business travel drives business growth all around the world.

Feeling the effects

The impact of business travel on the economy is undeniable. A recent study revealed that for every 1 percent increase in business travel spending, the U.S. economy gains an additional 71,000 jobs, nearly $5 billion in GDP, $3 billion in wages and $1.2 billion in tax collections.

A similar study in Canada showed that business travel is responsible for 1.5 percent of Canadian GDP. The industry supports 434,000 jobs, $16.9 billion in wages and salaries and also generates $8.6 billion in taxes.

Just as our world has become increasingly global, so has business travel. As companies seek new opportunities and new markets, international outbound business travel is the key to capturing those opportunities. Business travel is no longer just a quick trip from New York to Chicago. Businesses are sending travelers from Sioux City to Shanghai and everywhere in between.

Business travel abroad

In particular, there is dramatic growth in business travel expected for India: nearly 10 percent this year, and into the double-digit range for growth next year. If India continues on its current growth path, it will become a world leader in business travel for decades to come.

Growth in China may be slower than in recent years, but this is all relative. There is simply no other market with which to compare China, as their economic engine continues to move forward at a phenomenal pace, producing double-digit business travel spending growth. In fact, it is on pace to become the world’s largest business travel market. Economic policies being set in China today are already showing signs of having a long-term, positive impact on the economy, which further points to a healthy business travel industry for years to come.

Maintaining the engine of travel

With increasing global travel comes increasing responsibility for travel buyers of every type. These travel professionals all have a duty to care for their travelers, and need to ensure safety and well-being for those on the road. They are constantly preparing for the unexpected.

The implementation of travel risk management protocols is also on the rise. A recent study shows 83 percent of companies already have these protocols in place; of those that do not, 60 percent plan to within the next two years.

The global business travel landscape has forever changed. However, the value of business travel remains forever strong.

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