How is business travel shaping up?

Travel buyers discuss trends at the recent Think FCM event organised by FCM and the Global Business Travel Association.

Asia remains divided in resumption of travel, with flight availability limiting demand.
Asia remains divided in resumption of travel, with flight availability limiting demand. Photo Credit: gettyimages/Rawpixel

The business traveller experience and Asia recovery were some of the topics under discussion at the recent Think FCM event, where travel buyers discussed the industry’s latest trends.

Think FCM, a joint event between FCM and the Global Business Travel Association, took place earlier this month, with insights on technology and business travel.

The traveller experience is core to getting people to travel again

Melissa Elf, general manager, FCM Australia touched on the theme of people and said business travel is about bringing people together post-Covid.

“It’s about how do we connect again,” she said. “Our meetings and events teams are really busy at the moment, we didn’t think they would come back this quickly but customers are really looking forward to bringing people together to create culture and connections.”

Asia is a region of two halves

North Asia, including destinations such as Japan, China, Hong Kong, are very much where the rest of the world was 12 months ago, according to Bertrand Saillet, managing director, FCM Asia. “I don’t think they see yet the perspective of where they are going and what reopening will look like,” he says.

“Then you have South East Asia, which to the surprise of everyone has opened much faster than we anticipated. The problem we have in this part of the world now is capacity, you cannot find a seat on flights. We are struggling to find seats for our customers. We are in a dual world. Either you have restrictions and people don’t travel, or you lift them and everyone is travelling.”

The role of the travel manager has shifted massively in the last year

“The future role of the travel manager is about being a third of an IT expert”, said Benjamin Park, senior director, travel & recruitment at Paraxel. “Travel managers need to focus more on technology, there needs to be a skill set shift.”

Get ready for adaptive AI

Shivvy Jervis, innovation forecaster, looked at which digital breakthroughs will elevate the travel sector, and touched on adaptive A and augmented commerce.

“We have to build that bridge between man and machine, we have to take the systems we have from level two to level four and that is where the value lies,” she said.

“Adaptive AI is about giving social intelligence to our digital tools. This means giving digital the ability to grasp human dialogue in its most natural form. Our app, business software and virtual assistants will respond to our needs better.”

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