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Home » Artificial Intelligence » Business travel trends: how investing in AI supports human connection

Avi Meir

CEO and Co-Founder, TravelPerk

Despite AI’s growing role in creating efficiencies and cutting costs, the value of connecting in person remains crucial for business success.

Artificial intelligence (AI) can make things better for businesses — if applied correctly. As a global business travel management platform, we’re taking a different AI path; a human-first approach leveraging technology with the product and people in mind.

Business leaders must automate back-end repetitive tasks, so their people have more time to interact with colleagues, customers and partners. This is a game-changer to engage teams and build a positive future in a human-first world, where AI fills the gap.

AI boosts the need for business travel

Our ‘Value of Business Travel Report 2024explores how AI is shaping the way companies invest in travel. The good news: it’s not going anywhere. Around 76% of CEOs agree that increasing travel budgets positively impacts their company’s revenue, and over one-third (38%) say AI will increase the need for in-person meetings facilitated by business travel.

Despite economic headwinds, half of the 2,000 companies we surveyed, including 500 in the UK, expect their travel budgets to increase in 2024 as people attend more conferences and events.

Around 76% of CEOs agree that increasing travel budgets positively impacts their company’s revenue.

The impact on company culture

Humans aren’t designed to interact only online. Our research found that investment in travel to connect teams, meet customers and do essential in-person work, has a strong positive impact not just on company financial performance but on employee engagement and retention.

We found that 85% of employees who travel for work said that in-person social events boost morale and engagement. Meanwhile, companies that increased their travel budgets to connect employees have a 29% lower employee turnover than companies that reduced travel spend.

If business leaders want to reap the benefits of AI, they should focus on automating mundane tasks to help teams feel more engaged. It’s a win-win for companies and their people.

AI enhances human support roles

At TravelPerk, solving real pain points has been our secret sauce to AI innovation. When people travel for work, they want to know that they will get to where they need to be on time. If an airline cancels a flight and it’s far enough from your departure date, AI can help by offering alternative rebooking options.

However, if the flight is today, and you experience a disruption, it’s a real person you will want to talk to — not an AI bot. We’ve invested heavily in automating processes like flight changes, so our human agents can resolve issues fast when customers need it most. AI technology needs to be leveraged to enhance your teams, not replace them.

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