7 Business Travel Trends That Have Emerged So Far

With 2015 in full swing, the top business travel trends of the year have begun to emerge.

From Big Brother-style Bluetooth technology to in-flight business networking, these top 7 trends should be on the radar of every serious business traveller.

1. Long-Haul Direct Flights

Gone are the days of 12-hour layovers and endless stops en route to your destination.

In 2015, more and more business travellers are enjoying long-haul direct flights, no matter how far away their destination may be. New nonstops are now available from San Francisco to Abu Dhabi, Portland to Reykjavik, and Beijing to Boston.

And with 16+ hours that offer in-flight WiFi and other amenities, business travellers are turning long-haul flights into productivity parties!

2. Big Brother Is Watching

Thanks to airport-wide Bluetooth technology, anyone with a smartphone can instantly access flight details and gate directions the second they step into the airport. “Big Brother” Bluetooth can even tell you which currency counter is offering the best rates down to the second!

3. Your Phone & Your Wallet Are One

In 2015, one of the biggest business travel trends is using your smartphone as your wallet.

Thanks to apps like Apple’s Passbook, you can now store everything from plane tickets to credit cards right on your phone. Forget fumbling around for a card to swipe – simply tap your phone to make a purchase and hightail it to the nearest airport lounge!

4. A Brand New Class of Airline Seats

It’s not business class. It’s not economy. It’s….bizconomy?

In 2015, more and more airlines are offering a hybrid between business class and coach seating. Think of it like business class at a more affordable price, with only slightly fewer amenities than regular business class. The industry term has over time settled on 'Premium Economy' as a category name for this class of seating.

Perks include roomier seating with privacy dividers, access to airport lounges, and tastier in-flights meals, snacks, and drinks.

If you’re ready to spend less and get more in 2015, book with an airline that’s leading the way with hybrid seating: Finnair, Japan Airlines, Cathay Pacific, BA, Virgin Atlantic or Lufthansa to name a few. Have a look at a full comparison of Airlines offering Premium Economy at SeatGuru.com

5. Network At 9,000 Meters

Who says you can’t grow your business just because you’re on a plane?

In 2015, savvy business travellers are making the most of their inflight time by canoodling with fellow passengers and even doing business in the sky.

KLM Airlines offers a program where passengers can choose seat mates based on common social media profiles, while Delta Airlines gives passengers the chance to sit next to whichever business mogul or thought leader happens to be on their flight.

6. The Death Of The Authentic Homestay

Remember when AirBnB used to feature real homestays at real apartments with real families?

Well, one of the biggest travel trends in 2015 is the movement away from homestays toward good old-fashioned hotels.

A growing majority of the listings on AirBnB are now boutique – and even mainstream – hotels, or family-owned residences encouraged to become more and more ‘hotel-like’ by the website’s new owners.

7. Psychedelic Sleep Technology

In 2015, a comfortable bed is no longer enough for a good night’s sleep – at least not for the average business traveller.

More and more hotels are incorporating cutting edge sleep technology into their rooms, including…

  • Fitbit-type sleep monitors
  • Headboards that block ambient noise
  • Lighting that gets gradually brighter until your alarm goes off
  • Organic cotton ergonomic mattresses.

It’s clear that the bulk of these business travel trends are tech-based, and allow for  a more hands-free travel experience from your gate to your final destination.

But don’t forget that the biggest trends in 2015 also incorporate the importance of connection. There’s no point in getting to your gate sooner if it means missing the opportunity to network and make authentic, in-person connections with your fellow travellers.

After all, isn’t that what business – and travel – is really all about?

Rebecca Anne Nguyen is a freelance writer and the Founder of TheHappyPassport.com, an inspiration site for solo female travellers.