Business travel predictions for 2024: efficiency is the key

Dec 7, 2023

Companies are changing their approach to business travel faster than ever.

Businesses put each trip under the microscope to estimate its potential value against economic uncertainty, tense geopolitical situations, and climate change.

To prepare yourself and your company for work travel in 2024, our travel experts share their insights and forecast the trends shaping the upcoming year.

Jump straight to the region most relevant to your business:

10 business travel predictions for 2024

Some business travel trends cross borders, shared by businesses in countries across the globe. Here are 10 predictions that are likely to impact your company, no matter where you’re based:

  1. Tighter spending allowances.
  2. Sustainability will climb the priority list.
  3. Scheduling rides will change the ride-hailing industry.
  4. Continued erosion of the traditional fleet model.
  5. International travel will take off again.
  6. Planning time-efficient business trips.
  7. More travel throughout the working week.
  8. The use of micromobility for work will rise.
  9. A desire to bring remote workers together.
  10.  A safety-first approach to travel.

Read more about each prediction below. 👇

1. Tighter spending allowances

The first thing businesses look at is where they can cut spending. And when you start the process of reducing costs, business travel is often the first to see budget costs.

Travel budgets have been low for so long that they aren’t going to rise overnight. Taking fewer business trips is now engrained in behaviour, and businesses aren’t tolerating costs — especially when lower-value meetings can occur online. 

In 2024, companies will fine-tune their approach to balancing video conferencing with meeting clients in person — all to keep travel costs down.

“We’re going to see tighter travel policies that prevent people from travelling further than needed — which will cut spending.”

Tom Stevenson, Country Manager, UK and Ireland, Bolt Business

If the company is fine with many business trips, its management will likely cut costs in other areas, such as accommodation. Considering the rising hotel rates, fewer businesses will cover their employees’ stays in 5-star hotels when other options are available.

“Many companies will minimise their accommodation budgets — they realise spending big on 5-star hotels in the city centre is unnecessary. You can get a perfect experience at cheaper hotels.”

Cassandra Kelly Albertine, Regional Sales Manager, Bolt Business

2. Sustainability will climb the priority list 

A drop in business travel has led to declining emissions over recent years. So, when approving business trips in 2024, you don’t want to see a significant spike in emissions — especially after introducing sustainability targets.

To keep emissions down, companies will rethink their approach to business travel by using services they can adjust to fit the trip’s purpose. 

“Companies will focus more on how their travel policy fits into their sustainability efforts. After a couple of years where the spending and CO2 emissions have fallen, businesses don’t want to see them spike again.”

Tom Stevenson, Country Manager, UK and Ireland, Bolt Business

Every business trip must prove its worth as the pressure to keep emissions down grows. Nobody will stop you from booking a long-haul flight for a personal vacation. But business travel has its own level of scrutiny.

“Business trips are under much more scrutiny than in previous years regarding sustainability. If there’s not enough value in the trip, it won’t happen.”

— Nick Powell, Vice President, Bolt Business

3. Scheduling rides will change the ride-hailing industry

Being able to schedule a ride to your workplace, a client meeting, or the airport several days in advance is a game changer for the ride-hailing industry. The convenience, reliability, and peace of mind you get from knowing that you’ve arranged travel in advance is something business travellers appreciate.

“Scheduling a work ride removes the thought process from your journey and frees your mind to focus on the things that will drive business results.”

— Amy Hackett, Regional Director, Bolt Business

With Bolt Business, you can schedule work rides up to 3 days in advance either in the Bolt app or with Ride Booker. Compare them and choose!

4. A continued erosion of the traditional fleet model

One of our business travel predictions for 2023 was an erosion of the traditional fleet model. Based on what we’ve seen this year, it certainly came true. And in 2024, even more companies are set to move away from leasing company cars.

“The days of a company car being a perk from the top to the bottom of a company’s hierarchy are ending. Mainly because fuel prices and insurance costs are rising.”

Tom Stevenson, Country Manager, UK and Ireland, Bolt Business

If your company’s based in Europe, there’s more on this later in the article.

5. International travel will take off again

International travel is resurging and will probably get even bigger in 2024. With this rise comes a higher demand for seamless experience in different countries.

As an employer, meeting this demand means finding a travel provider accommodating mobility across borders.

“Companies will see the benefits of having a multinational contract with a travel provider or ensuring  employees have access to a mobility service, like Bolt Business, where business travellers can use the same app in countries around the world.”

Andrew Short, Senior Projects and Partnerships Manager, Bolt Business

A business traveller using Bolt Business to travel to the airport.

6. Planning time-efficient business trips

Many businesses are looking for ways to optimise their processes and use their time efficiently — especially regarding business travel.

Moreover, sometimes getting a ride to a meeting is the only way to get there neatly, calmly, and on time — not something public transport can guarantee.

Companies are striving for increased efficiency and productivity. Providing employees with an easy-to-use mobility app for work rides, like Bolt Business, can help you achieve exactly that.

Amy Hackett, Regional Director for Europe, Bolt Business

7. More travel throughout the working week

In 2023, Friday was the most popular day to travel for work — climbing up the rankings after being the third in 2022. Monday remains consistent as the least popular day for work trips.

But Monday’s share of weekday work rides grew by 1%, matching Friday’s most significant rise between 2022 and 2023. These numbers show that people travel more throughout the working week — perhaps indicating that workers want to spend more time with colleagues and clients.

A graph showing the most popular days for travelling to work with Bolt Business. Monday is the least popular, while most business trips happen on Fridays.

8. The use of micromobility for work will rise

Between 2022 and 2023, the number of people commuting on Bolt scooter or e-bike rose by 160%. Proving that business travellers have a clear appetite for efficient and flexible alternatives to driving.

As car costs continue to rise, Bolt scooters and e-bikes are convenient for shorter urban trips.

9. A desire to bring remote workers together

While remote work has plenty of benefits, there comes a time when employers will want to bring the team together — an event, team-building session, or when onboarding new hires. 

And here comes business travel.

Having a widely distributed workforce makes getting everyone together a real challenge. And you can’t underestimate those logistics.

But as you’ve seen from this article, employers can make life easier for employees in many ways. One example is to give your team access to a mobility service, such as Bolt Business, where they can get a work ride in minutes.

A team of remote workers together of a collaborative working session in the office.

10. A safety-first approach to travel

Safety isn’t new for 2024, but it should always remain top of mind for businesses.

Technology that keeps your team safe while they travel continues to advance. The Bolt app has  many safety features, including: 

  • Emergency assist button.
  • A Women only ride type.
  • Share trip details. 

But it’s not just the rider’s safety. It’s also the driver’s safety, which at the same time increases the passenger’s:

  • Thorough identification verification.
  • Driving time limits. 
  • Visible driver ratings.
A business person travelling to the office with Bolt Business.

Business travel trends in Europe

A push for sustainable business travel and keeping budgets tight are changing the way people travel for work across Europe.

These are the trends that will shape travel for European businesses in 2024. 👇

1. Car manufacturer emission targets to impact fleet owners

Car manufacturers across the EU must meet strict emission targets for their vehicles. Each gram of CO2 above the target turns into a fine.

Achieving these targets brings higher costs for manufacturers. These costs get passed on to those purchasing the vehicles. As a result, leasing vehicles for businesses in the EU will get more expensive.

Electric cars are a perfect way to meet the EU’s emission targets. But it comes at a cost: purchasing an electric vehicle in the EU is around 73% more expensive than a car that runs on petrol or diesel.

“Company fleets are becoming more electric as manufacturers aim to meet their emissions targets — driving up the cost of leasing agreements.”

Sergio Patricio, Regional Sales Manager, Bolt Business

2.  A rise in mobility budgets

Travel budgets benefit both companies and workers. The former sees increased employee retention, while the latter gains access to e-scooters, car-sharing, ride-hailing, and other travel options.

An employee may use the company car for personal reasons even more than for work trips. However, fuel, repairs, and insurance costs remain the company’s responsibility. Mobility budgets unlock travel options that benefit employees and give employers visibility and control over spending.

Sergio Patricio, Regional Sales Manager, Bolt Business

A business person ordering a work ride in the Bolt app.

Business travel trends in the UK

2023 was a year of major travel disruption due to strikes across the UK. In 2024, businesses will want to ensure their team can travel with the necessary reliability.

Prepare for business travel in the UK by noting our 2 predictions. 👇

1. Companies to prioritise time management

Airport, train, and underground strikes have become an integral part of the travel landscape across the UK. And they look set to continue into 2024.

With this in mind, time management and planning will be essential for every business traveller. 

In 2024, flight delays aren’t going to get much. Making your connection or an early-morning flight is risky due to delays. Companies need to plan ahead if flights are delayed or cancelled.” 

Cassandra Kelly Albertine, Regional Sales Manager, Bolt Business

Learn how to find reliability during travel disruption in this article.

2. Faster moving airport queues

New technology will allow you to pass through airport security without removing liquids and electronic devices from your bags — you’ll also be able to carry liquids over 100 millilitres. UK airports must fit this new technology by June 2024, so expect to get through the airport much faster in the year’s second half.

A business person in the airport getting ready for an international business trip.

Business travel trends in Germany

Travelling for work by scooter and e-bike is taking off in Germany. This is something we expect to grow into 2024.

1. Higher uptake of mobility budgets

Mobility budgets allow your employees to travel for work how they please — and they’re tax-free in Germany up to €50 per month (monthly budgets above €50 are taxed at a flat rate of 30%).

As an employer, you’re giving your employees a benefit, potentially attracting top candidates to apply for roles, and promoting sustainable travel.

These mobility budgets are supporting a rise in sustainable commuting across the country. Which brings us to our next prediction for Germany. 👇

2. Micromobility use for work to continue growing

Germans travel for work using Bolt scooters and e-bikes more than anywhere else. Backed by increasing mobility budgets, this dominance will continue into 2024.

A person using the Bolt app to unlock a Bolt scooter.

Business travel trends in the Baltics

Baltic countries experience extreme seasonality, which businesses need to start considering as part of their travel plans. One way business travel is changing drastically across the Baltic countries is car-sharing.

Here are 2 predictions showing how business travel will change across the Baltics. 👇

1. Businesses will take a seasonal view of business travel

Driving in winter might be stressful and dangerous. Only a few people are ready to take the responsibility of driving a company car on dark and icy roads.

During the Baltic winter, ride-hailing is more comfortable, convenient, and safer than a company car.” 

Gerhard Spitsak, Country Manager for Estonia, Bolt Business

By taking a seasonal view of business travel, companies give their employees a suitable way to travel all year round. During the winter, you can get picked up by a driver. In summer, you can make the most of the warm season by scooting or cycling.

Bolt Business offers a range of mobility options to companies across the Baltics.

2. Fleet reduction, rise in car-sharing

There was a 225% rise in people using Bolt Drive for work across the Baltics between 2022 and 2023 (Q1-Q3).

Easy access to a fleet of cars without paying for fuel, repairs, and maintenance makes business travel seamless. And companies will continue to make the most of this in 2024. 

“Companies in the Baltics want to part ways with their company cars — leaving them with more flexibility. And by flexibility, I mean being able to use on-demand travel to suit the purpose of the trip. Whether that’s ride-hailing, Bolt Drive, or micromobility.”

Gerhard Spitsak, Country Manager for Estonia, Bolt Business

More about car-sharing for businesses

Bolt Drive gives companies all the benefits of a company car without having to buy or lease. Your employees can find an available vehicle in the Bolt app, unlock it, and drive to their destination. Then, they can park up and forget about the vehicle. 

You only pay for the distance travelled and rental time. We handle everything else — fuel, parking, insurance, and more. Now, with a more long-term option, you can rent a Bolt Drive for a month at a time. 

It’s currently available to businesses in Latvia and Lithuania, with more countries planned.

A business person unlocking a Bolt Drive car-sharing vehicle.

Business travel trends in South Africa

There’s been a certain resistance to change by many companies across South Africa for some time. But those companies — even the ones that have been in operation for decades — are waking up to a new way of doing things. 

Here are 2 big predictions for 2023. 👇

1. An erosion of the traditional fleet model

Companies across South Africa are breaking free from the cycle of investing and reinvesting in fleets. And this will trend will continue to grow in 2024.

A fleet of company cars wasn’t a ‘nice to have’ for companies across South Africa; they were a must-have. In order to operate, they needed a company car to get the job done.

There’s a certain resistance to change in business — it’s human nature. Many companies are happy to take the same approach and ignore the downsides — even if those downsides hit your bottom line. 

But things are changing.

“10 years ago, investing in company cars and fleets was the only option for many businesses. But times have changed, and you no longer need to reinvest in these depreciating assets whenever they need a replacement.” 

Cyndi Levendale, Country Manager, South Africa, Bolt Business

2. Business will wake up to parking costs

The cost of parking quietly weighs down on the finances of many businesses. Airport parking, in particular, is expensive in South Africa — and the cost continues to rise. 

When someone from your company travels by plane for work, their company car sits in the airport parking lot, racking up costs.

“When businesses gave the green light for parking expenses, it was their only option. Are you still paying for your employees’ parking?” 

Cyndi Levendale, Country Manager, South Africa, Bolt Business

A Business trip to Johannesburg meant driving yourself to the airport and parking there. And because it’s for work, the company had to cover those expenses. There’s no need for this today when there are other options.

Parking also ties into safety. 

“Many businesses find it hard to part ways with their fleet or using a car rental service. But when you consider where your fleet is parked at night and whether your team get home safely after a night shift, ride-hailing services give more peace of mind.”

Alexander Skea, Account Manager in South Africa, Bolt Business

A business person returning to their company car after a business trip.

Business travel trends in East Africa

Most of our business travel predictions in East Africa for 2023 came true — and they’ll continue to develop into 2024. 

With technological advancements, economic instability, and a growing urgency around climate change, businesses have much to consider. And your approach to travel feeds into all three. 

Let’s dive into our predictions for business travel in East Africa. 👇

1. Controls on spending

There will be a lot more control over spending in 2024. Economic challenges are having an impact on every continent, bringing about global economic instability and uncertainty.

Concerning global economic challenges, there’s a need for companies to put controls on spending. Bolt Business supports companies to ensure travel is always within budget. 

2. A bigger focus on sustainability

Sustainability will continue to be a key focus for businesses in East Africa. Taking a green approach was on companies’ radar, but the first Africa Climate Summit, hosted in Kenya in 2023, accelerated things.

“The focus on sustainability in Africa is growing quickly. During the Africa Climate Summit, the President of Kenya spearheaded the adoption of electric vehicles, as opposed to fossil fuels.” 

Peris Wandeto, Country Manager, Kenya

3. Continued adoption of the hybrid working model

Businesses are moving away from the traditional working model where everyone must be in the workplace 5 days a week. Instead, employees are more widely accepted to spend 2-3 days a week in the office and spend the rest of their time working remotely. 

As more businesses accept this new way of working, the travel habits of business travellers across East Africa will shift.

A business person commuting home after work.

Business travel trends in West Africa

1. Companies will put tighter restrictions on spending

Any company needs a robust set of travel policies to control spending during economic instability. Laying out strict spending allowances lets your employees know exactly how much they can spend. 

Taking this step will be crucial in 2024 as companies aim to balance the benefits of business travel with cost minimisation.

2. Tricycle use will accelerate

As businesses look to cut costs, three-wheeled vehicles offer a convenient, fast, and affordable way to travel for work. They’re likely to become more popular.

Tricycles are currently available in cities in Ghana, Nigeria, and Tanzania.

“There will be a higher adoption of low-cost Bolt tricycles in 2024 as businesses look to cut travel costs.”

Frank Dibia, Senior Business Development Manager, Bolt Business

3. Carpools and ride-hailing will thrive

Parking, congestion, and rising fuel prices are 3 of the biggest problems people face when travelling for work. But you can solve all of these issues with carpools and ride-hailing.

With carpools, several people travel to work in the same vehicle, meaning fewer cars on the road, more available parking spaces at your destination, and fuel savings.

Meanwhile, ride-hailing services don’t involve even driving. While sharing a car with colleagues is just as fine as with carpooling.

The benefits mean businesses across West Africa are adopting carpool initiatives, turning to ride-hailing services, or using a combination of both. 

“Carpools and ride-hailing services will continue to thrive because employers are now more cautious of how transport costs impact their balance sheet. So, they’re looking to manage their team’s mobility in a way they can make cost-savings.”

Frank Dibia, Senior Business Development Manager, Bolt Business

A business traveller helping a colleague with get the luggage into their shared ride-hailing vehicle.

Will artificial intelligence impact business travel in 2024?

Everybody wants to harness the power of AI in one way or another. And it’s set to play an ever-increasing role in our daily lives.

“Nobody knows the full capabilities of AI yet. Everybody’s trying to catch up. There will be changes in 2024, but they’ll take time to implement. Once implemented, they will ramp up rapidly.” 

Tom Stevenson, Country Manager, UK and Ireland, Bolt Business

Technological advancements are already making business travel management easier. Some time ago, you’d have to book everything through a travel agent. Now, you can arrange everything online without speaking with a person.

Take Bolt Business as an example. Being able to book a work ride using an app on your phone was unheard of but has ramped up in recent years and is now part of the norm.

“AI will take over in the next 12-24 months. It’s capable of making business travel much more efficient and seamless. But there are still lots of components to fit together.”

Andrew Short,Senior Projects and Partnerships Manager, Bolt Business

A business person in the workplace using artificial intelligence on their computer.

Make business travel more efficient in 2024

Now that you know what to expect from business travel in 2024, it’s time to start planning. 

Tighter spending allowances are one of the biggest trends that will be a focus for companies worldwide. And with Bolt Business, you can set spending limits that your team can’t go over — making sure business travel is always within budget.

Once you’ve added your employees and set spending limits, they’ll see your company as a payment method in their Bolt app. Then, they can book a work-related trip that meets your company’s travel policy.

Create your company’s Bolt Business account online today.

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