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How Business Travel Is Going Through A Makeover In India

Monday, July 04, 2016
By Ronak Gupta

Ronak Gupta Co-founder & CEO. Routofy

Travel and tourism is one of the largest growing service sectors in India and its subset, corporate travel has been accelerating the most with the growth of the economy. Various factors have contributed to this fast expansion of business travel, which include globalization of organizations, rising income levels, policy and regulatory support by the government authorities, etc.

India has been witnessing the most escalated growth rate in corporate travel in the entire world, as per the reports of Global Business Travel Association (GBTA). It is quite possible that in the next decade or so, India may acquire the second place after China and surpass US, if the trend is to continue. Business travel is currently a $25 billion market in India, which is expected to attain a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 11.5 % through 2019, to reach $45 billion. Furthermore, an annual growth rate of 15 to 20 % is being observed in the inbound MICE segment of India.

The steep rise in the corporate travel market in our country makes it essential for the market players to keep up with the requirements of consumers, be it through service availability, updated technology, or top notch infrastructure. Platforms like Routofy are endeavoring hard to give business travellers, not just the best experience of visionary & seamless booking, but also an excellent travel experience. Here is an outline of the trends which will lend a hand in shaping up the exponentially-evolving Indian business travel segment:

Engineering the Travel
The purpose of corporate travel is to expand an organization’s business further. It often involves impromptu meetings and bookings that arise at the very last-minute. Companies, especially SME's, are rapidly adopting corporate booking tools and incorporating ‘Trip Engineering’ to achieve the same. This allows you to consider the requirements of the user and create an efficient booking system within the constraints of time, cost, and availability. Offering tons of data to the users is no longer a sign of technological superiority and keeping things simple is a priority now.

Management Of Expenses
Airfare, hotel rates, and ground transportation are expected to witness moderate price hikes in 2016. The Union Budget 2016 declared that air fares would experience an increase due to Krishi Kalyan cess & the hike in excise duty on aviation turbine fuel. In order to keep a tab on the outflow of funds in such situations, a constant expense management for business travel becomes of critical importance for organizations.

Compliance of Company's Travel Policy
Besides payroll, expenditure on travel is the second largest expense for most organizations. Breach of company's travel policy leads to unexpected increase in travel expenses, creating issues with reimbursement at a later stage. Multiple bookings from different vendors further create hurdles and complexities. Pre-booking authorization tools add an extra level of convenience for supervisors and managers in companies.  

The need for connectivity highlights the important role of technology in business travel. The travelling employees need to be constantly in touch with their team members as well as the family. Smart technology plays a huge role in the trips of these travellers, right from keeping people updated on the progress of their journey to working on ongoing projects.  

The complexity associated with handling a huge volume of employee travel results in the need to track and analyze the experiences of the business travellers. The analytics allow companies to learn about the demand patterns of the traveller, identify the loopholes in booking services, related risks, etc. It helps the organization to pick the right travel-planning platform, streamline the booking process and even offer personalized services. There is a potential of a lot of time and monetary savings by observing the travel patterns of employees & analyzing this detailed data.

Online & Mobile
Singapore Tourism Board and Amadeus report that Indian business travellers have a very high tendency of booking their travel online. Indians show greater inclination towards the ‘digital’ vision of traveling. It is becoming evident that people want to exercise their freedom to make their own bookings and modifications in the same that is offered by online portals. Approximately 85 % Indian business travellers book their flights online.

Business travel will soon transform into a ‘smarter' space with a significant change in the tide of old trends.

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