Four Business Travel Trends and Forecasts Impacting Events in 2024

Your attendee travelers are eager to hit the road, but thanks in part to economic challenges like inflation, companies are cutting back on T&E. Those able to travel freely are combining remote work with longer leisure trips. Higher air fares are replacing the flight delay challenges of 2023. And amid it all, sustainability watchdogs are championing corporate policies that are focused on monitoring their organizations’ overall business travel emissions.

The good news for event marketers, however: Despite the year’s travel speed bumps and forecasts, many events and trade shows (CES 2024, included) are reporting they are back to pre-pandemic attendance levels. Here, we explore some of the latest facts and figures, and opportunities, surrounding business travel trends.

zeiss-miami-salsa-dancers-2022-teaserRelated Stories:

82% of travelers say business travel is ‘very or moderately’ worthwhile in achieving business objectives.

The Global Business Travel Association’s annual report and forecast cites factors other than the pandemic’s influence for creating a “dynamic environment” in business travel spend and booking. “The pandemic’s overall influence on the direction of business travel is less important than other drivers, including macroeconomic volatility, sustainability initiatives among stakeholders throughout the business travel ecosystem and shifts in workplace trends,” its forecast for 2024 found.


AI could help companies analyze T&E on a ‘much more granular level.’

Last month, Mastercard wrote about technology’s impact on travel planning, citing tech platform CWT’s Global Business Travel Forecast for 2024, which shows a 3-percent rise in “average cost per attendee, per day for meetings and events,” and a 3.6 percent increase in hotel rates. The brand argues corporate travel teams could use AI tools for “better price predictions” and to better “tailor travel based on T&E policy, budget and employee preferences.”

Tip: AI may help event marketers better predict their own attendees’ budgetary needs and help plan or adjust event program schedules accordingly.


Corporate travel policies may start including air emissions tracking.

stock_earth_sustainability_greenAdvocacy groups like Transport & Environment and its Travel Smart campaign are actively tracking corporate flying activities and policies, as the group has identified that a 50-percent reduction in business travel from pre-COVID levels is “needed this decade to cap global warming at 1.5 degrees Celsius,” Reuters reported. A number of organizations, event properties and venues are using sustainability campaigns and air emissions tools to help track and offset activities.

The Colorado Convention Center, for example, offers an Event Attendee GHG Emissions Calculator for attending a trade show, as well as ways to reduce them and offset them with carbon credits, while the global events team for Cisco Live partners with MeetGreen on an annual audit of sustainability efforts at its show (the 2023 show reached “Visionary” status). The team offers a guide on environmentally conscious travel to its show, as well.


‘Bleisure’ is influencing how your event attendees are booking travel.

Fact is, those that love to travel are ready to spread their wings. Luxury and experiential travel network Virtuoso predicts that, based on surveys of advisors, both travel demand and spend will increase this year. In its annual Luxe Report, “celebration travel” is among the post-pandemic trends that continue to impact the space. But beyond itchy feet, the hybrid work world is transforming how long, and why, travelers hit the road for business.

Deloitte’s 2024 Travel Industry Outlook calls attention to the “laptop lugger” effect of the hybrid workplace, finding that professionals intending to work on their longest trip of the holiday season “jumped” from 19 percent in 2022 to 34 percent in 2023. “It appears that this is more than a passing pandemic anomaly, but a more sustained modification to behavior, as many use flexible work arrangements to enable more travel,” the report states.

Idea: Brands like Zeiss are building more leisure time into their annual conferences. For its National Sales Meeting, Zeiss gave attendees the option to extend their business trip into the weekend while utilizing the event’s negotiated hotel room cost.

Photo credit: iStock/Kobus Louw

Rachel Boucher
Posted by Rachel Boucher

Rachel joined Event Marketer in 2012 and today serves as the brand's head of content. Her travels covering the experiential marketing indust ry have ranged from CES in Las Vegas to Spring Break in Panama City Beach, Florida (hey, it's never too late)—and everywhere in between.
View all articles by Rachel Boucher →

Receive the latest news and special announcements from Event Marketer


© 2024 Access Intelligence, LLC – All Rights Reserved. |