The future of business travel in West Africa: 7 predictions for 2023

November 18, 2022

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Despite economic instability, business travel is increasing across West Africa.

To help prepare your team’s future travel plans, here are seven trends our Bolt Business experts in West Africa expect to see in 2023: 

  1. The days of high spending will come to an end;
  2. Companies will take more control;
  3. There’ll be an erosion of the traditional fleet model;
  4. Carpools and ride-hailing will thrive;
  5. Travel perks will be used to improve commuting;
  6. Companies will make international travel easier;
  7. Managers will take a safety-first approach to travel.

1. The days of high spending will come to an end

Ahead of an economic slowdown, companies are looking much closer at their outgoings — this will lead to more restrictions on spending. 

Travelling is accepted in many professions, but companies must ensure employees never spend more than a certain amount. This makes a good level of visibility and control essential priorities for all trips and adds security for the company.

Cutting costs won’t happen at the expense of quality

Employers have a responsibility to make sure the steps made to keep costs to a minimum doesn’t come at the expense of comfort, reliability, and security. “Business travellers are screaming out for quality,” says Kwaku Ampadu-Manu, Bolt Business Country Manager, “and delivering quality travel experiences should be a high priority to all companies.”

2. Companies will take more control

To keep costs to a minimum, companies in West Africa will want more control over business travel in 2023.

As company outgoings increase, a strong set of travel policies is essential. By taking this step, you’ll be able to control spending, give your team a clear understanding of how much they can spend, and ensure there are no unexpected expenses.

Rather than taking a one-size-fits-all approach to travel policies, your company should lay out multiple policies to suit the needs of all teams and individuals. That way, each traveller clearly understands when they can travel, where they can travel to, and the transport they can use.

“Around 90% of the companies using Bolt Business in Africa have well-planned travel policies. Companies concerned about how employees use expenses can limit spending and geo-fence trips to and from specific locations and certain times and days. Having that level of control is proving to be a game changer for companies.”

Nick Powell, Vice President of Bolt Business

Make sure your policies still give travellers convenience

Almost anything is available at the tap of a button, and it shouldn’t be any different when your team travels for business. Your employees will expect a smooth travel experience from start to finish, and it’s up to employers to deliver. 

Gifting your team convenience can be achieved by partnering with the right mobility companies. Corporate travel services, such as Bolt Business, allow workers to book rides on demand, as and when needed, and charge them directly to the company.

“Business travellers want to trust that their employer will give them a convenient and reliable way to travel that works for them.”

Kwaku Ampadu-Manu, Bolt Business Country Manager, Ghana

3. Carpools and ride-hailing will thrive

As fuel costs rise across West Africa, employers will look for ways to reduce fuel costs for company cars. There are two simple solutions to this: carpools and ride-hailing services. 

As well as cutting fuel costs, carpools and ride-hailing address infrastructural challenges, such as a lack of parking spaces. Meanwhile, fewer cars on the roads helps to ease congestion.

“Ride-hailing, enabled by tech, has offered workers a kind of escape from the challenges of the daily commute.

Justus Obaoye, Bolt Business Country Manager, Nigeria

4. There’ll be an erosion of the traditional fleet model

Businesses will start to think beyond fleet ownership when it comes to employee mobility. A need to reduce costs has put the spotlight on these depreciating assets. And companies are beginning to realise that a simple way to remove those outgoings is by turning to ride-hailing or car-sharing services.

“Further down the line, we could see businesses with a 50/50 model when it comes to fleet ownership — 50% owned, 50% car-sharing.”

Nick Powell, Vice President of Bolt Business

Look out for companies using their fleets for ride-hailing

Your company’s fleet comprises of depreciating assets that are idle most of the time — especially over the weekend. But you now have a solution, as Kwaku Ampadu-Manu explains: “Companies who own a fleet that’s used sparingly have an opportunity to let these cars be used for ride-hailing at the weekends to make extra income during a time of economic instability.”

5. Travel perks will be used to improve commuting

Hybrid working is here to stay, but many employers want to see their team in the office at least some of the time. To make returning to the office more desirable, employers are beginning to offer travel perks to their employees.

Bolt Business Country Manager for Nigeria, Justus Obaoye, believes that if you improve your team’s commute, then they’ll be back in the office: “Some businesses are struggling to get employees back in the office. And the office isn’t the problem, the commute is. If businesses make commuting seamless, they’ll get their team back in the office.”

Taking action in this area will help boost retention and enhance your company’s reputation.

“Giving employees an incentive to travel to the office is a smart way to boost employee retention and engagement. Smart businesses have recognised this and are adopting travel perks to get their employees back to the office.”

Nick Powell, Vice President of Bolt Business

6. Companies will take steps to make international travel easier

International travel promises exciting business opportunities but comes with many challenges. One of those challenges is often the travel itself. 

Travelling in an unfamiliar country is difficult as you have to get around language barriers and currency conversion — making claiming expenses even more time-consuming. But in 2023, businesses will seek to remove the stress and difficulty of travelling abroad — which can be achieved by signing up with a mobility partner. 

Corporate mobility services, such as Bolt Business, allow teams to book travel at the tap of a button. They’ll know in advance how much the journey will cost, and what time they’ll get picked up — and all payments are handled within the Bolt app. 

The ability to use the same travel app at home and abroad gives comfort to business travellers when they’re travelling outside of their home country.

“International travel can be challenging when you have to travel across borders. In some jobs, you have to carry cash and don’t know the local language. But technology has bridged these gaps. Business travellers in unfamiliar cities now have an easy way to move around thanks to corporate travel services, such as Bolt Business.”

Justus Obaoye, Bolt Business Country Manager, Nigeria

7. Managers will take a safety-first approach to travel

As an employer, the health and safety of your employees should always be the highest priority. When employees are out on the road, you should do all you can to ensure they feel safe from start to finish — physically and mentally.

“Safety is a big issue in West Africa. In 2023, businesses will take a safety-first approach to travel, which will be key to giving their employees an enjoyable travel experience. With Bolt Business, we assure safe travel for employees in their local country and international travels within Africa and beyond.”

Kwaku Ampadu-Manu, Bolt Business Country Manager, Ghana

Managing business travel in 2023 and beyond

There’s been a steady increase in business travel across West Africa in 2022, and 2023 is set to be an even bigger year. But businesses will be looking to give their team a way to travel that offers convenience, control, and cost flexibility in one place. And that’s where Bolt Business comes in. 

Make your first stop on the route to giving your team a convenient, safe, and quality way to travel in 2023 by reading Everything you need to know about Bolt Business

Thanks to Justus Obaoye, Kwaku Ampadu-Manu, and Nick Powell for contributing to this article.

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