Buyers under pressure to justify roles

By Bev Fearis, published 30/09/20

Nearly half of travel buyers feel under increased pressure to justify their roles at this time, according to a survey of ITM members.

ITM’s business travel recovery survey, undertaken during the first two weeks of September, found 47.6% of 144 buyers said they felt more pressure in the pandemic.

“The challenges thrown up by the pandemic have meant that we have all had to re-consider what value looks like to our stakeholders and customers,” said ITM CEO Scott Davies.

“Arguably noone is an expert anymore, certainly in the medium term, and so we all need to accept and adapt to be able to thrive. Collaboration and communication is critical in these times.”

The survey also found that over 50% of buyers travel programmes have “somewhat re-started” in the fourth quarter of 2020, while just under 40% of members said business travel is unlikely to start.

A tiny minority of 2% said business travel has fully started or will fully start in the last three months of this year.

The majority expected significant travel volume reductions for 2021 versus the baseline year of 2019.

Challenges in the coming six months centred around the complexity of managing a continually evolving virus situation country by country, and the resultant government restrictions, including quarantine requirements, alongside managing traveller confidence.

But buyers also identified several opportunities, including the chance to revisit and reset their programme and policy, raising the profile of the travel team within their organisations, and increasing engagement with internal departments.

“Be flexible in your approach, be mindful of each other and where possible keep the humour in your relationships,” Davies told buyers.

“2020 has been a challenging year for us all but I have faith that our resilient and resourceful industry will thrive once more.”