Unemployment levels are low, and the global economy is relatively strong which also means that business travel is up and likely to stay that way throughout 2018.

Not only are more businesses utilizing corporate travel opportunities, but employees increasingly see it as a unique chance to combine business and pleasure in ways corporate travelers didn’t often do in the past.

So generally, what are the trends to keep an eye on with regard to corporate travel this year?

Software and Expense Tracking Apps

From the employee’s perspective, one of the biggest obstacles that came along with traveling for work was how cumbersome it was to keep track of expenses and manage receipts. Even if they could keep up with their expenses in a fairly organized way, reimbursements often took a long time to go through.

Now more businesses are embracing technology and expense management software solutions that also make it easier for employees.

For example, many of these tools feature a web-based expense tracking app that lets them keep up with their expenses in real time, without much hassle or time.

Hotel Rates on the Rise

When the economy was still in the midst of a downturn, business travel was down and hotels were cutting rates. Now that the economy is back on an upswing, the demand for hotels is as well including not just from corporate travelers but also leisure travelers.

Hotel rates are higher as a result, and it’s more difficult for corporate travel managers to get preferred rates.

One of the trends unfolding in 2018 is that because of this there’s more of a move toward options like Airbnb.

Airbnb has already announced that it’s going to invest more in building its business traveler client base this year and provide them with more appealing options to address the lack of hotel availability and hotels’ unwillingness to negotiate rates as much as they did in the past.

Airbnb has set a goal of having 30% of total bookings come from corporate travel, and it’s very likely they’ll achieve this, and there may also be more focus on corporate travel by Airbnb competitors like HomeAway.

Despite the fact that there are some higher rates on hotels as well as airfare, there are also advantages that can be gained by using artificial intelligence and advanced algorithms, which show companies and business travelers things like when it’s ideal to travel to save money.

Risk Management

Finally, there are quite a few different trends affecting business travel when it comes to risks and security.

First, there’s the ongoing issue of cybersecurity, particularly when U.S. business travelers are going to certain parts of the world like China or Russia. Businesses are having to integrate advanced technology to keep travelers’ data and devices safe.

There’s also the issue of physical safety, especially in areas where terrorism has been an issue, and natural disasters are another area of focus.

Businesses are having to take a serious look at what risk management solutions exist to keep their travelers safe, and in contact.