It will take a growing number of meetings and many more flights for
the business travel market to recover to the point where business travel
is thriving, but the APAC region in particular will have a tougher time
than other regions.
This is according to futurist and trencaster Shawn DuBravac, CEO of
Avrio Institute. He was speaking to Julian Walker, vice president of
external communications and public relations for CWT, in a session at
the recent 2022 GBTA convention, discussing the recently released 8th
Annual CWT GBTA Global Business Travel Forecast 2023.
DuBravac said: “What we are seeing, since the pandemic began, is this
uneven recovery that's taking place. We saw it first with how consumers
were spending money, buying goods instead of services and now that's
starting to rotate out of goods and towards services. With airline
bookings, North America is at an all-time high, places like China are
still down 50% from where they were in 2019.”
He added however that the impact from the success of China’s recovery
programme would result in a massive escalation ‘in all sorts of travel
around the region’. And as business travel returns to other regions,
DuBravac said the industry is starting to see a pickup in business
He added: “That's driven in part by stronger demand from business
travellers but also business travellers and organisations who are more
willing to spend on travel. Hotels can build more capacity as required,
but obviously when material prices are going up, and with commodity
prices unpredictable to say the least, energy and oil prices are going
to have a huge, huge impact there too.”
Walker highlighted the growing cost of hosting meetings, with CWT
data pointing to a 25% increase this year, saying the cost would go up
by a further 5% or 7% next year.
“What we're seeing certainly is the speed to events - people used to
have a longer lead time but now there's a sense of urgency,” he said.
“It's like’ I want it now’ and that could be affecting the capacity of
hotels, because suddenly there isn't that availability.”
Dubravac also noted several other trends: a tendency to book for
longer trips, where business travellers are increasingly trying to group
things together so they can do more business on one trip and a tendency
to book flights and accommodation within a shorter window.
“Travellers are making sure that the event doesn't get cancelled, and that they are not likely to get sick before,” he said.