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Article: Emerging business destinations to keep an eye on

Aufstrebende Geschäftsreiseziele, die man im Auge behalten sollte

Emerging business destinations to keep an eye on

After the restrictions of the pandemic years, the world seems to have recovered to some extent. Although it takes a long time for interrupted supply chains to be restored, some industries, such as the aviation and travel sectors, which were among the hardest hit, have apparently been able to recover quite quickly. So what are the trends that are currently determining travel behavior? Are there new, up-and-coming business travel destinations that have not received enough attention due to Corona? This article is about these questions and general attitudes towards business trips.

Is there a change in travel behavior?

During the pandemic, sectors such as the hotel industry and the airline industry suffered an unprecedented slump. If they took place at all, business travel was kept to a minimum, worldwide. Instead of holding conferences and meetings in well-equipped hotels, companies used video conferences to bring their own employees together with business partners. There was no other way, because almost everything was subordinated to health protection during the pandemic.

However, after the historic slump in 2020/2021, the travel industry soon started to look up again. While the number of business trips in Germany was 16.1 million in the pre-crisis and record year of 2019, in 2022 there were again 11 million business trips, which corresponds to a recovery rate of 68.3 percent. A similar picture emerges when it comes to business trips from Europe to Germany. Germany was able to recover significantly and will now lead the ranking of business travel destinations in Europe again in 2022 with 9.23 million trips.

Bleisure trips are on the rise

With so-called “bleisure trips”, an important trend that was already apparent before Corona was consolidated after the pandemic. This is an extension of business trips for private purposes. True to the motto: “Once you’re there…”. Younger employees in particular appreciate the combination of a business trip followed by leisure activities. Increased environmental awareness also plays a role in this form of travel maximization, as many want to reduce the number of air miles traveled by combining business trips and leisure activities for climate protection reasons.

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International emerging business travel destinations

When it comes to destinations, New York is still the undisputed top destination for business travel. The British metropolis of London follows in second place, having taken the top spot in 2014. The French capital Paris ended up in third place. These traditional business travel destinations have long faced strong competition. With the rise of Asia as an important business location, new hotspots for business travel also developed there. Not only the well-known growth centers in China, such as Shenzhen, have become more attractive for business trips. The emerging markets of the Gulf region in particular, with locations such as Abu Dhabi, Dubai & Co., are recording strong growth in business travel.

Up-and-coming cities for business trips in Germany

According to Airbnb, Berlin, Stuttgart, Hamburg, Munich, Cologne and Düsseldorf are the six most popular destinations for business trips within Germany in terms of booking numbers. These six cities are also represented on business trips to Germany - in a slightly different order. It is not surprising that Germany's strongest economic centers are at the forefront when it comes to business travel destinations. It is interesting to look at the fastest growing cities for business travel. Destinations appear here that hardly anyone expected.

Up-and-coming locations for business travel or the fastest-growing cities for business travel include Aachen, Ludwigsburg, Reutlingen, Bamberg and Meerbusch. While Ludwigsburg and Reutlingen benefit from their proximity to Stuttgart and Meerbusch from their proximity to Düsseldorf and Cologne, the growth in business trips to Bamberg is surprising. Apparently there are other aspects than just the convenient location within a metropolitan region, such as a fascinating old town in relation to Bamberg. In the case of Aachen in the border triangle of Germany/Belgium/Netherlands, the thermal springs and corresponding wellness opportunities are also likely to offer an incentive and thus provide the impetus for growth.

Megatrend sustainability

All emerging markets for business travel can no longer ignore the issue of sustainability. The changing values ​​in view of scarce resources and climate change are also forcing the new hotspots for business trips to take new approaches to their offerings. This starts with the hotel amenities, continues with travel options and ends with the culinary offerings, which should, if possible, rely on regional and sustainably produced products. The policy is based on business travelers taking fewer short-haul flights and instead taking the train more. Of course, this requires a smoothly functioning infrastructure, which unfortunately is currently lacking in many places in Germany. Airplanes, with 43 percent, and cars, with 40 percent, are still the two preferred modes of transport for business trips. It will probably take some time before there is a noticeable trend reversal here.


Even though business travel almost came to a standstill in 2020 and 2021 due to the pandemic, overall travel activity has now returned to pre-pandemic levels. This applies not only to vacation trips, but also to business trips. Nevertheless, with the emerging markets for business travel, new trends such as bleisure trips have also made their appearance. This will most likely continue. Overall, the trend in business travel is to achieve more with fewer flight and driving kilometers. As I said, this can be “bleisure” or more use of digital offerings. A mix of all currently available options will shape the future.

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