By Bev Fearis, published 1/07/20
Only half of business travel managers, bookers and travellers believe their business travel volumes will return to pre-coronavirus levels, according to a survey.
The poll of 1,600 people was carried out in May among the clients of FCM and its sister travel management company, Corporate Traveller, which is aimed at SMEs.
The majority of participants (70%) agreed or strongly agreed that business travel will increase gradually over a period of time, with 40% saying domestic travel would return within one to three months and 32% saying international business travel would resume in six to 12 months.
The biggest influencing factor was identified as the relaxation or lifting of border restrictions, with 92% of respondents saying this would have a significant or some impact on resuming business travel.
This was closely followed by organisational endorsement of traveller safety, with 89% saying it would have significant impact or some impact.
Just over three quarters (77%) said a trigger to resume business travel would be when air and hotel supply levels return to near normal.
While a large portion of respondents indicated a need to revamp travel policy post Covid-19, 28% of respondents were unsure what needed to change.
Of those that did indicate areas for travel policy change, ‘health and hygiene’ and ‘duty of care’ considerations were the two dominant categories.
Asked whether changes implemented during Covid-19 will reduce their need for business travel, there was a 50/50 split between participants agreeing or disagreeing.
There was no distinct differentiation in the results from FCM or Corporate Traveller clients.
The 1,600 participants are now being asked the same questions in a second phase of the research so the TMCs can review and monitor any marked variation.
Marcus Eklund, Global Managing Director, FCM Travel Solutions, explained: “The first phase of our State of the Market survey has given us valuable insight into this process and how we can provide the best level of support. However, the whole post-Covid 19 era is still full of uncertainties and everyone is living and working in an environment that will continue to change. This State of the Market study is therefore an ongoing research project including customer polls in phase one and two, which will be followed by further in-depth customer interviews and focus groups over the next two months.”