Speaking at an EIBTM seminar in Barcelona, Avant-Guide executive director Daniel Levine said the industry should embrace the growing popularity of CSR and other social trends.
He said: "Before 15 September 2008, which is talked about as the time the downturn started as Lehmann Brothers declared bankruptcy, there was a hedonistic component to travel. Since then, there has been a change in the way people are thinking, towards self-improvement, creativity, community, social responsibility and environmental awareness. The business travel industry needs to push buttons that speak to these particular sensibilities."
Levine said the success of innovative ventures, such as the Kakslauttanen igloo village in Finland and the uniquely inspiring meeting spaces developed at Hotel Sax Chicago, illustrated the need to creative thinking.
Business travel planners, venues and destinations should offer experiences that were beneficial to both delegates and communities, he added.