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Mike Orchard, Principal, talks about the FESTIVE ROAD Macrotrends which hit home the most with travel managers at two key events in APAC… 

After two long years in the virtual meetings wilderness, it was a joy to see travel managers coming together face-to-face again at the CTC Corporate Travel Summit in Sydney and GBTA APAC Travel Summit in Bangkok.

Asia Pacific is a hotbed of change and innovation in the corporate travel industry, and it was clear that this community is ready to take on the future with renewed vigour and determination.

Alongside the 8 Macro Changes Affecting Travel Management I shared on stage, I heard travel managers offer their perspectives on the trends that will most influence travel and meetings management for the next two years and how they compare to the UK and US

Travel Managers United: “The Whole Trip Experience (At Last)”

Asian and Australasian buyers agreed that the trend with the most influence on travel management is “The Whole Trip Experience (At Last)”.

The focus is on improving the overall experience of business travel, right from the initial booking stage, through the journey to post-trip activities. Travel managers increasingly recognise that the travel experience doesn’t end at the boarding gate and are looking for ways to make the entire journey as seamless and efficient as possible. The focus is on ensuring the business trip enables the traveller to be as successful as possible for their organisations.

It was interesting to see that the whole trip experience takes top priority in Asia Pacific as well, following conversations with travel managers in the US, who have also set this as a key focus for 2023.

In Asia Rising: “ESG at the Purposeful Core”

The most influential macroscope trend voiced by UK-based travel managers in 2022 was “ESG at the Purposeful Core”. It’s no different in APAC. In Sydney, travel managers rated ESG as the equal highest influential trend shaping their strategies.

For quite some time now, I’ve heard travel managers across the region talk about the growing importance of ESG in their travel programs. We’re all aware of the significance of sustainability in travel programs, but it was also encouraging to see widespread recognition of the importance of social and governance issues.

In Australia, for example, many organisations have launched a Reconciliation Action Plan to support and advance the reconciliation process between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.

Demand Reshaped: “The Future of Work: Dispersed But Not Forgotten”

“The Future of Work: Dispersed But Not Forgotten” was also identified as an important trend shaping the future of business travel.

Across Asia Pacific, 56% of employees want the flexibility to work both in the office and remotely, according to IDC. And more than 70% of employees believe their productivity is higher, or at least at the same level, compared to pre-pandemic.

The sentiment from travel managers is that the shift towards remote work in the Asia Pacific region is leading to an increase in demand for small team meetings and other forms of collaboration as a way to maintain connections and productivity among dispersed teams.

Again, we can see synergies between regions in the ways employees, travel managers and businesses respond to the ‘new normal’ for the world of work.

In Summary

It’s clear that travel managers in the Asia Pacific region are focused on keeping up to date on the key trends shaping the future of business travel and adapting their programs to suit. Whether it’s through a focus on sustainability, improving the overall travel experience, or catering to the new realities of how we work, these trends are sure to shape how we think about business travel in the years to come.

Reflecting on the energy of the travel managers I met at the events reminded me of the power of human connection and the importance of coming together face-to-face. I look forward to the continued evolution of the corporate travel industry in the Asia Pacific region and the opportunities it presents for us all.

To find out more about our perspectives on travel management in Australasia & APAC contact Mike at