The impact the pandemic has had on business travel is well documented and the changing market conditions are leading to a significant shift in the industry.
Rebuilding Business Travel – Insights from global TMC leaders on the business travel industry outlook and recovery strategies for 2022, the latest report from Amadeus explores the opportunities, challenges, and growth strategies that will shape the future of business travel.
The research is based on insights from over 250 Travel Management Companies (TMC) executives, gathered through a quantitative survey as well as deep-dive interviews.
The research looked at the changing priorities of business travel, with the results showing:
Globally, 92% of business travellers want to be informed about health and safety information on the country they are visiting, before and during their business trip. Eighty-two per cent of business travellers in APAC echo a similar sentiment.
Last-minute changes are becoming increasingly common; due to changes such as flight cancellations as a result of new quarantine restrictions or testing requirements. Meanwhile, 50% of global travellers prioritise disruption management for last-minute changes, compared to 38% of APAC business travellers. This indicates that as the needs of business travellers evolve, so do TMCs’ roles in managing these disruptions.
Duty of Care is now identified as the number one business travel requirement for clients – (Global: 65%; APAC: 68%). The need for companies to reduce risk is expected as TMCs now facilitate more than air travel, with rail, hotel and car bookings included.
When asked about the future of the business travel industry, the survey results show:
Globally, 49% of TMCs see a shift from ‘unmanaged’ to ‘managed travel’. The number is higher for APAC at 57%. As planning for a business trip becomes increasingly complex with logistical and risk management exercises, employers will require assistance when it comes to travel arrangements.
Next, 71% of TMCs in APAC cited technological advancements as the top strategy for the recovery of business travel, compared to 63% globally.
Other recovery strategies include cost optimisation (Global: 49%; APAC: 63%), where TMCs automate tasks like routine service desk enquiries or offer more self-service tools to clients so that they can focus more on the duty of care for travellers, followed by diversification to new revenue sources (Global: 69%; APAC: 59%). Business travellers are looking for more services and content, which means TMCs can look at different technologies to improve customer service including improving mobile apps and messaging tools, virtual payment offerings and self-booking tools with fuller content.
Mieke De Schepper, executive vice president and managing director, Asia Pacific, Amadeus, said: “TMCs in Asia Pacific are the most optimistic that business travel will recover – something which has already happened in the Chinese domestic market – and resume its impressive long-term growth trajectory.
“But much has changed, and APAC TMCs see clear opportunities in the new world of business travel to also further improve on the past. A great example is the high number who expect more companies to shift from unmanaged to managed business travel. This provides fantastic potential for TMCs to earn more revenue by helping clients with this transformation. Expect more use of technology too: APAC TMCs are especially strong believers in progress through automation.”
The full report can be downloaded here.