July 15, 2024

GBTA poll identifies three main challenges impacting business travel

The shift to NDC, the industry’s ongoing talent crisis and how to improve traveller experience, particularly when trips are disrupted, are the three key drivers shaping the path ahead for business travel, according to the latest GBTA poll.

The Q2 2023 Business Travel Outlook found 60% of travel buyers say they do not support American Airlines’ decision to restrict a large chunk of its fares to NDC channels, compared with 36% of travel suppliers and TMCS.

Respondents in Europe (44%) and APAC (43%) are more likely to support the airline’s move versus those in North America (29%).

Over half of travel buyers (53%) say some airlines are trying to roll out NDC too quickly and have not given third-party intermediaries enough time to develop the needed technology and processes.

A third of buyers (29%) say intermediaries have had enough time and should be ready to efficiently handle and service NDC bookings.

One-third (36%) of buyers say their travel programme has been negatively impacted by moves from carriers overall to implement NDC, whereas 29% say it has not been impacted.

An additional third (28%) say they are unaware of any impact, and only 6% say NDC efforts by carriers have positively impacted their travel programme.

Half of buyers (48%) say they have not yet started to implement NDC and 61% say they have not, nor intend to, budget for additional NDC-related servicing costs.

Eight in 10 travel buyers surveyed (81%) say they need more information on NDC and 50% do not feel their TMC has sufficient NDC information and/or is not sharing their plans for implementation.

When asked about the talent crisis, 58% of all respondents report they continue to experience shortages and/or recruitment challenges in some capacity.

But a third (36%) said they are not experiencing significant difficulties in the areas of staffing or recruitment.

When asked to rate their recent business travel experience, most respondents say it was somewhat (31%) or very (29%) pleasant.

But half of those surveyed say concerns about travel disruptions – such as cancelled or delayed flights, long security queues, crowded airports, or long bag check queues – has somewhat (41%) or greatly (9%) reduced their willingness to travel for work.

Travel managers most frequently hear business traveller complaints from employees about delayed (76%) or cancelled (72%) flights, long call wait times with TMCs (62%) or travel suppliers (52%), and poor hotel service quality (46%).