Business as usual? Not all travellers feel the same way

Travel patterns and priorities see a shift as organisations and travellers redefine their agendas, says Amadeus’ Rudy Daniello.

TMCs have spoken out about how corporations are viewing the comeback of corporate travel.
TMCs have spoken out about how corporations are viewing the comeback of corporate travel. Photo Credit: Getty Images/Krisada tepkulmanont

While the Omicron variant may have thrown a spanner in the works of the travel revival, travel experts worldwide still collectively hold the same sentiment: People want to travel, whether it’s to visit their friends or relatives, take a breather from the rat race, or even expand business horizons.

Globally, countries are seeing an increase in vaccination uptake, and despite persisting Covid-19 risk mitigation protocols that differ from airport to airport which can come across as rather challenging to navigate, more people are flying either for business or leisure.

Rudy Daniello, Executive Vice President Amadeus Cytric Solutions, in an Amadeus blog article, stated that “despite recovery happening at a different pace across the world, some markets are slowly emerging from the risk zone and business travellers are dusting off their hold-all bags, looking to take the next trip.”

Referencing Amadeus report which collected the perspectives of over 250 executives from travel management companies (TMCs) around the world, Daniello shared the following findings.

In-person business meetings still reign supreme

Much of the modern workforce are familiarised with organising or participating in virtual meetings by now, but despite being acclimated to it, the rise of video conferencing only served to drive home the value of spending time in person with clients, partners or counterparts.

In the Amadeus survey, TMC executives believe the impact of video conferencing on business travel depends on the reason for the trip. The majority believe that face-to-face interactions still hold high priority in business trips, conferences, fairs and exhibitions.

These executives have also felt a seismic shift in travel patterns, with more business travellers favouring longer stays, with a higher spend per trip, and companies more willing to pay for direct flights or premium cabins to optimise employee safety.

The survey also noted that ‘bleisure’ travel is gaining traction once again. Corporate travellers are opting for longer business trips to incorporate both work assignments and leisure activities. Some travellers may even take a ‘workcation’ where they work from a leisure destination for an extended period.

Bending to the flexibility of hybrid options

The birth of a new era of work arrangements that blends both in-person and virtual elements, have given rise to new possibilities in engaging stakeholders. However, corporations had to overcome the many challenges and complexities that came with hybrid working.

On that aspect, Amadeus is working on continually supporting companies in digital transformation and ensuring they are meeting the new demands that come with hybrid working. A recent partnership with Microsoft aims to provide a native experience for business travellers while simplifying travel planning and increasing productivity.

Growing focus on duty of care

Partly due to clients’ internal reorganisations, 65% of TMC respondents consider an increased focus on duty of care to be a corporate clients’ primary need. Businesses required a higher level of support from travel providers during the pandemic as travellers needed reassurance and round-the-clock service.

92% of TMC executives surveyed consider health and safety information before and during the trip to be a business traveller’s main priority, followed by alerts during the journey and flexible tickets for last-minute booking or changing.

Due to the logistical challenges of travel during this time and high chances for disruption, there’s an increased focus on optimising travel spend and renewed emphasis on duty of care.

Sustainability is the latest buzzword in business travel

Prior to the pandemic, sustainable travel was simply viewed as a “nice to have” but it has become integral to most corporations and both business and leisure travellers, as recent trends have shown.

TMCs indicate that more companies are increasingly requesting for sustainable travel options like booking environmentally friendly hotels and transport, and providing emissions data.

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