Years have passed since the COVID-19 pandemic started, but it continues to impact the business travel industry. 

Shortly after the coronavirus entered the game, one thing became clear — corporate travel would face a slower return than leisure travel.

According to McKinsey, only one of the key US business travel markets, New York City, experienced a serious financial impact because of the pandemic situation. 

In fact, the financial impact on NYC is 6 times that of the September 11 attacks and cost the city more than $1.2 billion in lost tourism-related tax revenue. 

On a broader level, business travel declined around 90% as a result of COVID-19, according to PWC research.

Overall, online travel agencies and companies in the real estate industry suffered the most.

For example, two of the biggest industry players, Booking.com and Expedia, were affected the most. 

According to Statista, between 2007 and 2019, the revenue of worldwide booking holdings grew constantly.

Revenue of booking holdings worldwide - 2007-2021

Source: Statista.com

However, the situation changed when the pandemic started and the company’s revenue more than halved in 2020 over the previous year, dropping from more than 15 billion to around 6.8 billion U.S. dollars. 

Overall, the situation is the same concerning all the biggest industry players. 

If we take Booking’s main competitor as well – Expedia, the situation is nearly the same. They fell from approximately 12 billion to 5.2 billion U.S. dollars over the same period.

Online travel agencies revenue - 2019-2020

Source: Statista.com

All in all, the downturn in the travel industry indeed affected world economic growth as well.

According to research done by expert Aaron O’Neill, global gross domestic product (GDP) will start to slow down and stay on the same level starting from 2023 to 2026.

Growth of the global gross domestic product (GDP) 2026

Source: Statista.com

On the other hand, based on the GBTA Business Traveler Sentiment Index, business travel is expected to fully recover by 2024

Today, the corporate travel industry is already recovering and showing green shoots again. 

The question is: Will its volume approach pre-pandemic levels soon?

However, despite the fact that numerous companies are still trying to recover and fill in the gaps after the Covid situation, some companies developed a flexible strategy to recover even faster than others.

One example is Blueground, a real estate/prop tech company operating in the travel industry.

To make it easier for you to understand why this company has succeeded where others have failed, consider these two points:

  1. Before the pandemic, the company had a presence in 12 markets/locations. At the moment Blueground has a presence in more than 22 cities.
  2. Ahead of the coronavirus, the company offered 3,800 properties to its customers. Currently, the number of apartments is more than 6,000.

So if you decide to book an apartment for your business trip, you will know you are in good hands!

Blueground offers fully-furnished, equipped and serviced apartments in some of the world's most sought after cities.

Are There Any Challenges Business Travelers Face Today?

Yes, there are!

Here’s the list of some difficulties business individuals face when traveling for business.

1. Language Difficulties

Based on a recent survey from Booking.com, the No. 1 difficulty when traveling travel abroad for work remains the language barrier.

Above all, 26 percent of the people participating in the survey mentioned that “language issues” were their top difficulty when doing business traveling.

Indeed — different country, different culture, unknown location — who won’t get stressed when traveling to a new destination for the first time?

2. Wi-Fi & Connectivity

Yes, the connection does matter for corporate travelers. It’s not a secret that the Internet connection is quite bad in various hotels or cafes, so this is something to surely think about ahead of time.

According to the GBTA Traveler Sentiment Index in partnership with American Express, Wi-Fi remains the biggest problem reported by business travelers (25% of respondents).

And in parallel with current technological developments, it will definitely remain an issue.

Why?

Simply because, nowadays, employees expect their workers to stay connected. Whether it’s team messaging platforms, project management apps, email, or other forms of communication, employees should check and reply to messages in case of urgency pretty much instantly. 

So without an internet connection, their business trip doesn’t make sense at all, right? 

3. Battery Issues

A waning device battery is another issue one can run into during corporate travel. 

Generally, there are two devices that business travelers use, laptops and smartphones.

(Not counting smartwatches, by all means.)

So to prepare these two devices for your business trip, start by charging them overnight. 

Also, while charging, turn off, close, and disable any programs and features you won’t need.

Don’t forget to disable notifications and apps running in the background. These definitely consume energy.

4. Disappointment in a Hotel Room 

Sometimes photos on hotel websites are drastically different from real life. Annoying, isn’t it?

However, you have 2 options:

In most hotels, you can report what is bothering you about the room to the manager and you’ll get another room or an upgrade.

Or, you can book from a trusted company like Blueground and avoid stress. We have furnished corporate apartments for rent in various business travel markets in the US.

5. When Your Flight Is Delayed

Flight delays are another issue that people face during corporate travel.

All in all, when planning a trip, one should keep in mind that airlines don’t guarantee their schedules, so they may change anytime.

The good news is that there are some sources you can benefit from.

For example, in the United States, when flights are delayed or canceled, airlines are not required to reimburse passengers. So compensation is required by U.S. law only when certain passengers are “bumped” from a flight that is oversold.

Also, if you’re traveling within the EU, If you’ve been on a delayed flight, you may be able to claim up to 600 EUR in flight delay compensation under European legislation called EC 261.

If your flight has been delayed, you can check for compensation here.

However, business travelers can secure their flight delays easily in two ways:

  1. Obtaining a travel package from travel insurance companies;
  2. Using a business travel bank card.

Let’s go through five of the best travel insurance companies and business travel cards to make your travel journey less stressful.

 

5 Best Travel Insurance Companies in 2022

If you’re spending a lot on booking a trip, it might make sense to buy travel insurance.

Above all, travel insurance protects your investment for a trip in unexpected cases such as weather, illness, government shutdowns, etc.

1. AXA Assistance USA

AXA Assistance is a part of AXA Group, the 27th largest company in the world. The company specializes in various services including health and travel services. 

Currently, the company operates in numerous countries and has more than sixty years of combined experience within the US and internationally. 

So if you’re planning a business trip you can use call AXA Assistance 24/7 and get benefit from their suite of travel services including travel and medical assistance, travel security and travel insurance

The medical and evacuation limit of the company is $250,000 to $1 million (USD) per person.

2. GoReady Insurance

GoReady Travel Insurance

GoReady Insurance is another travel insurance company operating in the US and internationally providing travel insurance and protection services.

The company works quite flexibly and chooses various insurance carriers to receive the best combination of benefits and pricing for customers.

Also, they have a 24/7/365 emergency team to assist on any covered event such as flight disruption, illness, or injury. 

So if you’re experiencing any kind of issues related to booking or rearranging flights and hotels, you can feel safe that the problem will be solved.

3. Seven Corners Insurance Company

Seven Corners company offers customized travel insurance solutions 24/7. They provide emergency medical and travel assistance services for diverse types of individuals and groups. 

Want to know if you can trust them?

To make your decision even easier on trust them or not, worth mentioning that Seven Corners administers health care benefits for select U.S. government programs as well.

4. Travel Insurance Quotes

If you’re feeling cautious about the cost of your trip, possible illness or injury of you or a loved one, or simply want to pad your flight cancellations, you would need a Plan B.

At Travel Insurance Quote, you can compare and then buy travel insurance for your upcoming trip. 

When using their services, you will get:

  1. High-quality customer service by a licensed team of travel insurance representatives
  2. A comparison of travel insurance plans where you can choose the one matching your business needs
  3. A guarantee that if you are unhappy with your choice you can get your money back

5. Travelex

Travelex Travel Insurance

Shortly after Travelex Insurance Services was founded in 1996, it became one of the top three travel insurance providers in the United States.

Today, Travelex Insurance Services is a leading travel insurance services provider in the United States. 

Here’s the list of benefits one can get by using their services:

  1. Trip cancellation and interruption, where a business traveler can get financial protection for canceled trips
  2. An opportunity of getting reimbursement for unplanned expenditures during trip delays
  3. Emergency medical and dental coverage (in case of unexpected injury or sickness)
  4. Baggage and personal items insurance (this means that your baggage or even your personal items are protected from being lost, stolen, or damaged)
  5. Accidental death 
  6. 24/7 travel assistance for travel or medical purposes

So these were some of the best travel insurance companies.

Now let’s explore some of the best business travel cards as well.

 

5 Best Business Credit Cards for Travel

Having trip cancellation and trip interruption insurance coverage can be on a traveler’s business credit card can be hugely beneficial. The reason is that many of those business cards already include sufficient coverage for a business trip.

Let’s explore this list of the best business credit cards for business travelers and see what they are covering.

1. The Platinum Card from American Express

AMEX Business Platinum Card

The Business Platinum Card from American Express is one of the best business travel credit cards you can find today.

Here are some of the benefits the AMEX Business Platinum Card offers:

    • Trip Cancellation and Interruption Insurance: If you purchase a round-trip entirely with your card and your trip is canceled or delayed, AMEX is ready to cover your canceled trip (see their flight terms and conditions)
    • 120,000 Membership Rewards points: $15,000 on eligible purchases in the first 3 months
    • $400 Statement Credit When Shopping at Dell Technologies: You can get up to $400 back annually within the U.S. with Dell Technologies
    • The Global Lounge Collection: You can get benefit from more than 1,400 airport lounges across 650 cities in 140 countries.
    • $200 Airline Fee Credit: When selecting one qualifying airline you can get up to $200 (in statement credits) per calendar year for unexpected fees including checked bags and in-flight refreshments charged by the airline
    • 5X Membership Rewards Points: You can earn up to 5X membership rewards points on flights and prepaid hotels when booking via Amextravel.com
    • The annual fee of the AMEX Platinum business travel card is $695

2. Ink Business Preferred Credit Card

Ink Business Preferred Credit Card

Ink Business Preferred Credit Card is one of the cards issued by Chase Bank.

The good news is that this business travel card doesn’t charge a high annual fee, and at the same time allows you to earn excellent rewards points in various categories. 

  • Rewards: You’re earning 3 points per $1 when spending $150,000 on travel for the first time in combined purchases on travel, shipping purchases, internet, etc. each account anniversary year
  • Welcome Offer: 100,000 points after you spend $15,000 on purchases (within the first 3 months of registering a new account)
  • Trip cancellation: They also provide cover business travel cancellations or interruptions (and other benefits related to business travels)
  • Annual Fee: $95

3. Chase Sapphire Reserve Card

Chase Sapphire Reserve Card

Chase Sapphire Reserve Card is another business credit card provided by Chase Bank.

With this card, business representatives can have a wide range of elite travel benefits and perks with an excellent point earning and redemption options:

  • 50,000 bonus points (right after opening an account and spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months you’re eligible to get it)
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit (you can automatically receive up to $300 in statement credits as reimbursement for travel purchases)
  • More ways to earn such as earning 5x total points on air travel, 10x total points on hotels and car rentals, 3x points on other travel and dining, etc.
  • More benefits include trip cancellation/interruption insurance, lost luggage insurance, auto rental collision damage waiver, and even more.
  • Annual Fee: $550

4. World of Hyatt Business Credit Card

World of Hyatt Business Credit Card

World of Hyatt Business Credit Card is issued by Hyatt – one of the world’s best hospitality brands.

To keep it short, here’s the list of the benefits this business credit card offers:

  • An opportunity to earn 60,000 Bonus Points
  • Various ways to earn Bonus Points for how you do business (various bonus points for stays and experiences, fitness club and gym memberships, dining, shipping, gas stations, buying airline tickets, etc.)
  • Other practical travels and purchase protections include primary rental car collision damage waiver, trip cancellation/travel interruption insurance, travel, and emergency assistance services, purchase protection, etc.

For the pricing details, you can check here.

5. IHG Rewards Premier Credit Card

IHG Rewards Premier Credit Card has numerous benefits for business travelers including:

  • An opportunity to earn and use 140,000 bonus points
  • Up to 26X total points at IHG Hotels and Resorts
  • 5X total reward points per dollar (on travel, dining, at gas stations, etc.)
  • Account anniversary free night
  • Redeem 3 nights, get 4th night free
  • Trip Cancellation/Trip Interruption Insurance (if your trip is canceled or cut short because you’re sick, for example, and other covered situations, you can be reimbursed up to $1,500 per person and $6,000 for a trip for your pre-paid, non-refundable travel expenses, including passenger fares, tours, and hotels.)

Now you have all the information on how to secure your flights and flight delays to get to the destination.

But what about your travel expenses? Are you sure you will not overspend in a foreign location?

To manage your travel expenses even more efficiently, we have chosen and analyzed some of the best travel and expense management software.

Hopefully, they will help you avoid unnecessary charges.

 

5 Best Travel & Expense Management Software Packages in 2022

Destination and length of a trip can cause business trips to have different outcomes compared with the planned total costs.

So understanding an accurate budget requires breaking down the average costs into specific expenses. 

Usually, planning a business trip involves these four primary costs:

  1. Airfare fees
  2. Travel accommodation
  3. Ground transport
  4. Daily allowance (for food and other fees)

But which is the most expensive city to visit on a business trip in the US? 

Here’s a chart from Expertmarket.com showing the most expensive US cities for business trips:

As you can see from the chart, the most expensive US cities for business travel are San Francisco, New York City, and Boston.

So how to avoid spending beyond a budget? 

First and foremost, one should understand the average travel costs and what they consist of.

To fully understand this, you can have a glance at this infographic below on the average cost of business travel (for both domestic and international travel):

Average Cost of Business Travel

Image Source: Certify.com

But how to control your travel expenses properly? 

For this reason, we have explored 5 of the best travel and expense management software programs.

Here’s a short summary of each of them:

1. TravelPerk Travel Expenses Management 

TravelPerk

TravelPerk is one of the best travel expenses management tools today. 

The company has moved business travel into an all-in-one travel platform. So one can easily book, manage, report, and support all the business trips with just one tool.

Above all, there are no setup fees or hidden costs, the response time for customer support is just 15 seconds, and you can get 80% of the cost back for canceled trips, etc.

2. Fyle Corporate Travel & Expenses Management

Fyle Expense Management Company

Fyle corporate travel management is another solution to reduce travel expenses by:

  • Providing you access to a centralized travel and expense dashboard where you can eliminate manual data entry by enabling automated travel expense reporting under a unified platform
  • Integrating your current travel and accounting software with Fyle to track all expense data
  • Keeping track of all corporate credit card expense reports, and experience effortless corporate credit card reconciliations
  • Submitting (in multiple ways) business expenses including by clicking a picture of the receipt and recording business expenses, scanning them via Fyle’s mobile app, or enabling employees to submit expense reports via various platforms such as Slack, Gmail, Outlook, phone gallery and email forwards
  •  The cost of the Fyle software starts at $4.99 per active user*/month (billed annually)

3. SAP Concur 

By using SAP Concur Travel and Expense program one can easily automate, connect, and simplify their expense, travel, and AP processes.

Also, the company gathers all the travel expenses-related data in one place and you can automatically capture receipts and process reports.

4. TravelBank Corporate Travel & Expenses Management 

TravelBank is known for its all-in-one solution to help business travelers with improving visibility, expedite reporting, enabling budget management assistance, and providing crystal clear travel policies.

Here’s a video explaining the platform features along with some premium insights:

5. Zoho 

Zoho is one of the biggest companies providing SaaS applications and other solutions for businesses.

Also, one of the solutions of the company is travel and expense management for business travelers. 

All in all, the platform has quite great features including a travel desk management dashboard. There you can manage your online travel and hotel bookings, auto scan receipts to create expenses automatically, and make reimbursements online, so there are numerous benefits to using Zoho.

 

What Criteria Should You Use to Book Your Business Travel Apartment?

Business travel can be isolating. No one likes going from hotel to hotel, especially on extended stays.

Wouldn’t it be fantastic if you could find an amazing housing option that felt more like home?

When planning a business trip, one of the most critical areas of consideration is choosing the best accommodation.

However, there are several things you should pay much attention to, such as accommodation type, location, and cost, as all of them will impact the outcome of your trip.

Here are the key questions to ask when you look for business travel accommodations in the US.

1. Does this apartment accommodate business travelers?

Unfortunately, not all apartment complexes accommodate business or corporate travel. Some would rather lock you into year-long leases, even if you don’t need or want that much time.

All in all, by eliminating apartments in the city that don’t accommodate business travelers, you can save yourself the hassle of having to sublet or, worse yet, forfeit a few months of pay.

At Blueground, you can rent corporate apartments for just one month at a time, or you can save on your stay by booking for multiple months. The furnished housing provider works closely with landlords in global cities, from Los Angeles to Dubai.

2. Are the costs of staying in this apartment transparent?

Living in an apartment can be quite different from staying in a hotel. While fees can rack up at the hotel restaurant or with valet parking, apartments come with a new set of money challenges.

On top of paying for the apartment, you may need to pay for utilities such as electricity, trash pickup, and the internet.

Do you know about these costs upfront, or are they meant to be paid on the side?

Ideally, you know from the time of booking how much the total apartment stay will be, relative to renting a serviced apartment.

3. Is it easy to extend your stay with the same landlord if you need more time?

Business trips don’t always go as planned. Sometimes you end up staying longer than anticipated.

Above all, depending on your landlord’s holdings, this can be challenging because they may not have another property in the city.

Can you easily extend your stay or find a different place without wasting productivity?

When you rent with Blueground, the extension process is seamless. You can simply request a lease extension on our Guest App, which is only available once you’ve secured a booking.

In some cases, with leases of more than a year, you may not be able to extend your stay in your current apartment, but you can rest assured you will have options at a similar price point and size.

If you need to extend your stay, Blueground can get you settled in a new property, keeping the same service agreement.

When renting furnished, you can move from apartment to apartment with just your suitcase, and with no extra credit checks or time-consuming paperwork.

4. Do you have enough space in your apartment?

All corporate housing is not made equal.

If you have multiple people staying in the same apartment, space is vital.

One reason you are probably avoiding booking a hotel is because of space issues.

A large spacious furnished living room in Los Angeles. There is a couch and a coffee table across from a TV and TV stand

Do you have enough space? If you are booking an apartment, are you getting more space than a hotel would provide at the same cost?

Do your research and make sure that your apartment lives up to your expectations.

5. Who do you call for maintenance?

Fixing broken items in an apartment can be costly and time-consuming. The last thing you want to do on a corporate trip is to worry about apartment upkeep when you should be working.

Navigating maintenance in a new city can be tough without knowledge of any reputable repair companies in town.

If apartment maintenance frightens you, make sure you have someone on call to take care of any issues.

While we try to avoid maintenance, something is bound to need a little upkeep, especially during lengthy stays. Maintenance is a part of the process of living anywhere, from burnt-out lights to a faulty water boiler.

Make sure you have someone to call, be it a landlord, superintendent, or property management company.

6. How far do you need to commute to work and the places you want to go?

One of the hidden costs of business travel is the cost of getting around town because public transit and rideshares add up.

While a $5 rideshare seems small, if you take that multiple times a day over a month, costs skyrocket.

Instead, you may want an apartment that’s close enough to walk to work or nearby stores.

Factor distance in when picking the perfect apartment.

How far is it from where you will be working? How far do you need to commute to things like grocery stores? Is there fun stuff to do nearby your apartment?

All in all, you need to get details about the place you intend to stay in.

Otherwise, you risk running over budget and racking up costs outside your per diem.

7. Is the apartment furnished?

Whether you are going on a short trip or an extended stay, you don’t want to furnish anything.

Moving to another location is already hard enough; you don’t want to deal with moving things like beds and kitchen utensils too.

Can you imagine walking into your new home away from home and seeing a fully stocked kitchen, a big television, and a nice, comfy bed?

Think about the weight that would be lifted off your shoulders during corporate travel if you only had to worry about what clothes you were going to pack.

When you rent furnished, your apartment comes with all the equipment and housewares you’ll need for your extended business trip.

By the end of your stay, you won’t want to leave!

8. Is the neighborhood safe?

Staying in a new city can be scary when you don’t know much about the area you’ll be staying in.

Luckily, we live in a pretty connected world, so you should be able to find a plethora of information about the neighborhood online.

If you know any colleagues or business contacts where you’ll be relocating, you can ask them about the best or safest neighborhoods in their city as well.

Before you book an apartment, make sure you take a look at the surrounding area.

If you are traveling alone, make sure you know the safest neighborhoods to stay in.

On the other hand, if you are traveling with someone else, use the buddy system, and travel together to stay safe.

9. Can you bring your pets?

If you’ll be staying in an apartment for an extended period of time, you’ll want to bring your furry friends along.

While boarding your pet or having them stay with family is an option, there is nothing like being able to take your pet with you on your business trip.

Does your apartment allow you to bring your pets?

If so, check to see what the limitations are. You may need to pay additional pet rent or consider breed and size restrictions. Make sure you look further than “pets allowed” before you bring your favorite animal with you.

10. Does your apartment come with any fun amenities?

One of the best parts of apartment living is the amenities.

For instance, gyms, gardens, pools, and more. These can actually be cost-saving because there will be no need to join a gym or find a community pool when you want to swim.

Which amenities sweeten the deal at the apartment you want to stay at?

One of the best parts about staying in a Blueground apartment is the premium amenities offered.

And each apartment provides different amenities depending on the building.

So just filter by your desired amenities and make sure you land your ideal home.

Blueground offers fully-furnished, equipped and serviced apartments in some of the world's most sought after cities.

Top 10 Useful Tips for a Successful Business Trip

Lastly, we’ve made a list of the most practical and useful business travel tips to help you travel smoother, stressless, and stay as efficient as possible. 

1. Join Rewards Programs 

As mentioned above, there are numerous reward programs when using various business travel credit cards.

So why not get rewarded for points or miles on your airline, hotel, or travel credit card of choice?

2. Stick to Carry-On Bags Only

Want to avoid losing 30 minutes (on average) at the baggage claim?

Then stick to carry-on bags only. This will indeed help you save lots of extra time.

Also, you can avoid stressful situations like losing your luggage or having it broken.

3. Charge Your Electronic Devices (and Take Power Banks)

Having a low battery is a common problem in today’s traveling world.

So charge all your electronic devices before leaving your house, and even throughout the trip when possible. You never know when you might need a battery or if your flight will be delayed or not.

And finding a plug when you’re on the road for long periods of time might be quite difficult.

4. Book a Furnished Apartment to Avoid Hotel Wi-Fi Issues & Feel At Home

Need a better WiFi connection and a working space than your hotel room?

Then booking a furnished apartment is a great solution! 

If you’re traveling to some of the business cities in the U.S. like San Francisco, New York, Boston, and Chicago, Blueground is an excellent choice. 

You can easily book furnished corporate apartments easily and save from 30 to 50%, as they are much cheaper than a high-quality hotel.  

So book in advance, save money on your business travel, and feel like you are working from home.

5. Make the Most of Airport Lounges

As mentioned above, there are over 1,400 airport lounges in 140 countries you can get benefit from.

Why wait in a crowded noisy place when you can replace it with a comfortable space, stable Wi-Fi connection, plugs, food, drinks, and even showers?

All in all, it’s also a great way to relax before your flight.

However, if your business travel card is not on our list above, check if it has access to airport lounges as in some cases it should also be bought separately.

6. Check-in Online

This is one of the most irritating issues business travelers face, although it’s quite easy to avoid.

All they need to do is check in online in advance. This will help to reduce the overall travel time and get rid of last-minute additional expenses.

7. Choose Your Plane Seat Wisely

Yes, airline companies charge additional fees for reserving the seats you want. 

But you should choose them wisely. 

For example, if you’re you’re traveling on a long flight, your seat selection can make a difference.

8. Pack Healthy Snacks

For many business travelers, it’s quite hard to have a meal at the same time or whenever they need it. 

However, there’s a solution for that: packing some healthy snacks will help you avoid irregular meal times and stay healthier.

9. Put a Set of Clothes in Your Carry-On Bag

Sometimes, travelers feel uncomfortable, especially during turbulence. 

It doesn’t matter if you will have a short trip or a long one — you should be confident. And this way you’ll make sure you’re secured in case of any sweaty emergencies.

10. Download the Necessary Apps & Plan Your Route Beforehand

Navigating is one of the most time-consuming parts of business travel. Leaving the airport, getting a taxi, finding a route to the business meeting or office destination — this all can be done through apps today.

And if you haven’t done your homework beforehand, you will only lose time on all these activities. 

Remember that your time is valuable!

So download all the necessary apps and plan your route beforehand to catch up with everything confidently.

a blueground apartment

Conclusion

It’s quite possible that you might already know about some of these business travel tips.

However, we’ve done the research and provided the information to help you prepare for unexpected situations properly. 

Hopefully, some of them will be game-changers for you and will save you time and money on your next business trip.

Blueground offers fully-furnished, equipped and serviced apartments in some of the world's most sought after cities.

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