Prices and rates slip down the pecking order for travel managers

From left: TTG Asia Media's Karen Yue; Ajaay Kapur; CWT's Akshay Kapoor; and Manish Raj discussing why cost-cutting is less important post-lockdown

Cost considerations are no longer a top priority for travel managers post lockdown, as they prioritise a return on investment, as well as staff well-being and retention, noted panellists at the recently-concluded IT&CM Asia 2022.

Akshay Kapoor, head of sales – Asia Pacific, CWT, opined that while travel costs have risen significantly worldwide post lockdown, organisations will continue to spend on incentive travel to reward staff, and build employee loyalty and a sense of belonging.

From left: TTG Asia Media’s Karen Yue; Ajaay Kapur; CWT’s Akshay Kapoor; and Manish Raj discussing why cost-cutting is less important post-lockdown

In some cases, several companies have also increased the number of qualifiers for incentive trips because they believe that incentive trips will help in staff retention, he elaborated.

Manish Raj, vice president, global sales & new initiatives of a technology company based in India, shared that while travel costs have increased significantly post lockdown, business trips will continue to happen.

This is because in-person meetings have an edge over digital meetings, he opened, where physical interactions tend to positively impact the closing of deals, and provide better company visibility.

For instance, unicorn technology companies in India that seek further funding to grow their businesses and organisations have to make trips abroad to meet with investors and venture capitalists.

Meanwhile, Ajaay Kapur, vice president & head procurement, for a large banking, financial services and insurance company, shared that post-lockdown, airline connectivity, as well as safety and security of travelling employees, currently take priority over budget.

To optimise costs, companies should work directly with airlines and hotels, he suggested. – Additional reporting by Serene Foo

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