The Future of Business Travel in Asia

The Future of Business Travel in Asia

At the very moment, business travel in Asia accounts for more than 400 billion dollars spent. Why? Because this particular part of the world comes with more than just a booming travel market – and not any kind of market, but the corporate travel one!

According to data and statistics, roughly 30 billion dollars are spent on online travel to get business people from their European or American offices to Asia.

Thanks to this, it is widely believed that business travel in Asia will soon become a trademark and ruling point, so to say, for the rest of business travel. Currently, Asia’s business travel market is subject to a couple of drawbacks. Still, people there have started to drastically improve the travel systems and, ultimately, make Asian business travel the standard!

The Issues of Business Travel in Asia

As mentioned above, despite the immense amount of money spent on business travel in Asia, the systems and procedures that are in place are still rough around the edges.

Compared to Europe or the US, Asia comes with poorly-designed booking tools, characterised by issues such as small inventory and no comprehensive language support. On top of that, travel policies are either missing entirely or extremely confusing to business travellers from other countries.

All of the above and a couple of other issues make an unhappy business traveler who realises that they spend more to make up for such matters. Naturally, companies are not happy either with spending money on options that are not ideal for business travel. 

Asia Won’t Let Itself Fall Behind

Due to COVID-19, everybody saw the importance of business travel over the economy. Naturally, remote work is convenient for everybody, while teleconferencing helps many meetings take place faster – but these are the enemies of business travel.

As such, more and more Asian startups are slowly taking care of the region’s booking tools and policies. Asia becomes what it has once been for technology – a testbed that will undoubtedly evolve so much it will surpass other areas/systems modelled after it.

For example, businesses here are now working towards comprehensive travel management platforms and payment technologies that won’t scare the business traveler. Naturally, currency conversion is tackled with plans to make it as simple as possible – or irrelevant whatsoever. 

The Effects of Unmanaged Travel Business

According to statistics, roughly nine in ten business trips in Asia are not adequately managed. What does this mean?

Well, it means that the business traveler is given some funds that they can pretty much use freely since there’s little to no management behind. This translates to increased business travel costs for companies that, ultimately, imply poor travel risk management. 

On top of that, the available business management tools are either too expensive or inaccessible for small businesses. We also don’t even have to mention that business travellers themselves either don’t know or don’t adhere to their company’s policy regarding business travel.

Given the above, we can all see how and why startups such as Travelstop – a business management platform – will become extremely popular in Asia in less than a year or two. It’s because they come with a straightforward solution to a complex problem.

Investors Believe in Them

Asian investors – and not only – put their trust in Asian startups; after all, it would be highly unwise for them to do otherwise. Looking at the business specifications of many business travel management platforms and startups, we see ideas that could work in Europe and the Americas.

For example, it is expected that the Asian region will say goodbye to almost all cash transactions by 2022, mainly because everything is planned to be done via a smartphone. Simultaneously, chat and support functionalities are being constantly developed, while the Asian business giants do their best to increase their appeal to large customer bases.

What about investments?

  • 2016 came with almost 5 billion dollars in funding in this particular sector.
  • 2017 almost double the previous sum, with 9.4 billion dollars.
  • This last available sum meant that many of the startups operating in the business travel field could scale their solutions effectively and slowly start to apply them (or at least further develop them).
  • Finally, only the first six months of 2018 came with an investment of around 9 billion dollars. By 2021, tens of billions are going to be invested in this particular sector.

What Powers Business Travel in Asia?

Throughout the years, travel has become more and more accessible – for all social classes. In the past, one used to attend a business trip only if extremely necessary. Nowadays, on the other hand, business trips are called even for international training sessions and such.

We don’t even have to mention the constant increase in power of businesses like Forex trading, making Asia ideal for digital nomads. A business trip there to deepen your knowledge of Bollinger Bands could result in a relocation for you – which is another effect Asia has on foreigners.

In short, Asian business travel is powered by a more robust middle-class. Median wages have increased, while travel costs got to a point where they’re affordable to all social classes. On top of that, the many platforms offering discounts, sales, and subscriptions related to travel made it much easier for employees and employers alike to engage in business travel. 

The Bottom Line

So, why is the future of business travel in Asia the future of business travel? 

Well, first of all, the same concept as with technology applies. Some time ago, Asia was behind and only a testbed for new technology. Nowadays, it’s not just a testbed but also the leading developer and creator of new technology.

As such, it goes without saying why it’s believed that business travel overall will be moulded by Asia, while this region will continue to develop and improve it endlessly. Soon enough, we’ll see the better Asian version of AirBnB and of business travel management platforms that, at the moment, are highly undeveloped even in the US or Europe.

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About the author

Thomas has a university background in the UK and in Latin America, with studies in Languages and Humanities, Culture, Literature and Economics. He started his Asian experience as a publisher in Krabi in 2005. Thomas has been editing local newspapers and magazines in England, Spain and Thailand for more than fifteen years. He is currently working on several projects in Thailand and abroad. Apart from Thailand, Thomas has lived in Italy, England, Venezuela, Cuba, Spain and Bali. He spends most of his time in Asia. During the years Thomas has developed a great understanding of several Asian cultures and people. He is also working freelance, writing short travel stories and articles for travel magazines. Follow Thomas on

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