TMCs are reporting a strong recovery in business travel and are confident it will continue.
Speaking on a panel of TMC leaders at this week’s BTA Conference in Antwerp, Maria Baty, Managing Director Altour UK, said: “Corporate travel is back very strong and I can’t see that slowing down. If business travel didn’t matter, we wouldn’t already be back to where we are.”
Adam Murray, EMEA CFO at Flight Centre, said the group is seeing a “very significant rebound”.
“We’re not waiting for a recovery anymore. We’re already back,” he said. “The appetite for travel is reassuringly there. It hasn’t disappeared.”
Kevin Harrison, Managing Director at Good Travel Management , said the TMC is seeing a new kind of travel emerging post Covid.
“With the rise of hybrid working, organisations are bringing their people together for team building or incentives. The reasons for travelling are changing,” he noted.
Members of the panel said the recovery for the TMC sector was also being driven by SMEs with unmanaged business travel turning to TMCs.
They said this would explain why the recovery in their own businesses was not mirrored by other sectors, such as airlines, who report that only 70% of the business travel traffic has returned since the pandemic.
“I think we underestimate how large that unmanaged space is,” said Harrison at Good Travel Management.
Baty said some of the larger corporates were being forced to reduce their travel to meet their sustainability targets.
“We’re not seeing that so much in the SME sector,” she said.
But Harrison pointed out: “Although there might not be a big sustainability push among SMEs, as TMCs we need to be ready for that.
“We can take the lead on this and become experts, so we are ready to take the questions before they are asked. It will help TMCs remain relevant.”