In the first week of the Asata Summit, on November 11, during a panel discussion entitled: “The new profile of the corporate traveller”, members of the panel identified several changing trends in corporate travel.
While we all suspected that corporate travel just won’t be the same for a while, some experts, like Scott Gillespie, a US travel management expert, believe it will never be the same again. He said: ”Travel won’t grow – we have reached peak. We need to face up to it.”
Some of the ideas voiced at the Summit, around this topic were…
- There is more concern than ever over carbon emissions.
- Corporates have found their comfort zone with virtual meetings and conferencing - this means the meetings playing field has changed, possibly permanently, with many more meetings and conferences moving from face to face across to virtual.
- A new, unbiased approach toward the justifiability of meetings is arising – every meeting that requires travel must now be justified in terms of cost, time out of the office, perceived risk to the traveller and the carbon emissions accountability aspect.
- More regard is being paid to traveller health and wellbeing.
- Corporates will want a significant reduction in travel that is not client-focused.
- The ROI of every trip will come under scrutiny.
Another trend that emerged was that some (perhaps many) corporates have switched off their online booking tools. This has a manifold intention – It prevents travellers making wasteful bookings without understanding the prevailing restrictions and rules on travel to any specific country, it also prevents travel which, while it may have been deemed necessary pre-Covid, is no longer seen as necessary, and which might be replaced by an online meeting.
This all points back to corporate clients needing the input of TMCs before making decisions on trips. The logistics are now complicated and the opportunity for TMCs is to embrace the complexity, understand it and add real value by simplifying a complex journey for the traveller, said a TMC executive.
Something came across clearly in the discussion - no matter the degree to which the corporate travel economy revives, or the speed this happens, TMCs are likely to play a much more important part in informing and advising their clients.