In the fast-evolving landscape of corporate travel, the year 2024 promises to be a pivotal year marked by transformative changes. Leading to 2024, India's domestic air passenger traffic touched a record high on 19th November 2023, as airlines carried 4,56,910 passengers. Commenting on this new travel feat, Jyotiraditya Scindia, India’s Union Minister for Civil Aviation, wrote on X (formerly Twitter),
“With this, there is no stopping us from becoming the world's largest aviation market!”
As India is projected to be the world’s third-largest economy by 2027, businesses are adapting to the new normal, and their travel needs are witnessing a paradigm shift.
Here are the top 10 corporate travel trends that are set to redefine the future of business travel in India:
1. Increasing Women Solo Travellers for Business Purposes
The corporate world is witnessing a surge in women taking up leadership roles and entrepreneurship. Women hold 36% of senior positions in India's mid-market businesses as per a report published on 3rd October by Mint.
As per the ABP Live report of 8th March, women comprise 14 per cent of the total entrepreneurs in India, which works out to 8 million. Also, 10 per cent of all formal enterprises are owned by women. About 20.37 per cent of the MSME industry in India is made up of women-led businesses, which also employ about 23.3 per cent of the labour population.
This demographic shift has translated into an increased demand for safe and reliable corporate car hire services. Companies are now actively choosing service providers that prioritize the safety and satisfaction of their women solo travellers. The key is to deliver not just employee transportation but a holistic and secure travel experience.
2. Green and Sustainable Travel: Driving Towards a Greener Tomorrow
Sustainability is taking centre stage as businesses are embracing electric vehicles (EVs) for corporate travel. In FY23, the market share of electric cars rose from 0.6 per cent to 1.3 per cent. The growth of EVs is not just a trend but a commitment towards a cleaner and greener future.
With an expanding network of charging stations, increased battery capacity, and a strong adherence to ESG norms, companies are actively contributing to global initiatives like COP 23 agreements and the Paris Accord. Even with few sceptical corporates, the industry is steering towards the target of turning 100% carbon neutral by 2030 and fostering eco-friendly corporate travel practices.
Several companies in India, including Mercedes-Benz, Tata Steel, Dabur, Amazon, and Tech Mahindra, are embracing green transport for last-mile distribution, supply chain operations, and employee transportation. Mercedes-Benz India's managing director and CEO, Santosh Iyer, has switched to an electric vehicle and plans to offer EVs to the company's leadership team and employees.
3. Growth of "Bleisure" Travel: Blurring the Lines Between Work and Play
The concept of "bleisure" travel, the fusion of business and leisure trips, is gaining traction. This trend is not just about extending business trips for leisure but is increasingly becoming a strategic tool for talent retention.
78 per cent of millennials consciously include personal time during business travel, according to RegionDo.
According to research from AMEX Global Business Travel, 57 per cent of organisations have a policy allowing young employees to extend business trips with vacation time. While 74 per cent of seasoned business travellers wish their company’s travel policy had a budget for entertainment, as per Swapnil Shinde, co-founder and CEO of Mezi.
American bleisure travellers made an average of 6.4 business trips annually, 88 per cent of which were domestic (12 per cent were international), according to a 2023 Expedia study on bleisure travel patterns.
Professionals now see business travel as an opportunity to explore new destinations and cultures. Companies are adapting policies to accommodate and encourage this blending of business and leisure, recognizing the positive impact it has on employee satisfaction and well-being.
4. Personalization and Privatization: Tailoring Corporate Travel
Senior executives are now seeking more than just standardized travel solutions. The demand is for personalized and curated corporate travel experiences. From bespoke itineraries to ensuring privacy during travel, service providers that offer tailored solutions are gaining prominence. This trend is indicative of a shift towards recognizing the individual needs of corporate travellers, making each journey unique.
5. Local Travel Clubbed with Business Travel on the Rise
Businesses are increasingly recognizing the value of incorporating local experiences into business trips. This trend is an acknowledgement that travel is not just about reaching a destination but about the journey itself. By adding local experiences to business itineraries, companies are creating a more immersive and authentic travel experience for their employees, enhancing engagement and satisfaction.
6. Experiences over Expenses: Prioritizing Quality and Safety
The emphasis is shifting from cost-centric decisions to prioritizing service quality and safety. Corporates are willing to invest in travel solutions that ensure a seamless and secure journey for their employees. The focus is on quality experiences that not only meet but exceed traveller expectations, recognizing that these aspects often outweigh monetary considerations.
7. End-to-End Tech Managed Travel over Hybrid Delivery
Technology is revolutionizing corporate travel management. The shift towards end-to-end tech-managed solutions is gaining momentum over hybrid models. The seamless integration of technology throughout the travel journey, from booking to on-the-road support, is becoming imperative. This trend ensures efficiency, transparency, and real-time monitoring, providing a hassle-free travel experience.
8. Indian Businesses Going Global: Fueling International Travel
As India emerges as the world's third-largest economy, surpassing Germany and Japan, businesses are eyeing global expansion. The demand for international travel is set to surge, with startups, unicorns, and venture capitalists leading the way. India's vibrant startup ecosystem, crossing 100 unicorns, is fostering a new wave of global business travel.
9. Business Travelers from Startups and Unicorns
The startup ecosystem in India is flourishing, with the country now boasting over 100 unicorns. This growth is fueled by innovative solutions, robust funding, and a commitment to building for the world. As startups and unicorns continue to expand their footprint, the demand for corporate travel will see exponential growth. Founders, executives, and venture capitalists associated with these entities will be at the forefront of this surge, driving a new era in business travel dynamics.
10. Humanized vs. Homogenized Total Travel Experience
The future of corporate travel lies in humanized experiences. Standardization is giving way to personalized and transparent travel curation, creating memorable journeys that resonate with individual preferences. The focus is on crafting experiences that reflect the diverse needs of modern travellers, fostering a sense of connection and engagement.
REGO: Driving Corporate Travel Trends in India for Over 20 Years
As we navigate the transformative currents of corporate travel in 2024, it is evident that the landscape is evolving towards a future where individual needs, sustainability, and seamless experiences take centre stage. Rego, with its over 19 years of pioneering excellence, is not just witnessing these trends but actively shaping them.
From empowering women solo travellers to championing sustainability with our growing fleet of electric vehicles, Rego is at the forefront of ushering in a new era in corporate travel. Our commitment to personalized and curated experiences, the fusion of business and leisure travel, and the seamless integration of technology exemplify our dedication to driving corporate travel forward.
As Indian businesses venture onto the global stage, Rego is ready to accompany them, providing not just transportation but a holistic travel partner. Our recognition as the Top 10 Corporate Car Rental Company in India and the Car Rental Icon of India underscores our commitment to excellence.
Summarizing the top 10 corporate travel trends in India for 2024.