FCM unveils State of the Market study

A survey of international business travel managers, bookers and travellers has found 50% now have employees already travelling or booking reservations to travel in the near future

But the State of the Market research, by sister TMCs FCM Travel Solutions and Corporate Traveller, found the number of trips taken will likely be lower, with only 26% of businesses planning to return to their pre-Covid-19 levels for domestic travel during 2021.

The remaining 74% of businesses predict reduced domestic travel for the immediate year ahead.

Pre-Covid, the average number of business trips per traveller was six to eight per year but this number is likely to fall between three and four trips per person, per year until 2023.

The latest research, carried out in August 2020 with 250 of FCM’s multi-national large-scale clients, plus Corporate Traveller and FCBT’s SME customers globally, found clients still have long-haul travel plans on hold indefinitely.

In particular, national businesses in the U.S, Australia, China and New Zealand were less likely to have long-haul international plans for 2021, indicating only domestic and short-haul international travel will be planned for next year.

Industries which continued to travel or recommenced travel the fastest were Mining & Wholesale, with roughly 40% of respondents from those businesses saying they continued travelling throughout the global shutdown and 80% saying they have resumed travel at this point.

Construction and food services follow closely behind with roughly 70% of respondents indicated that they’ve started travelling again.

Across all industries, the first people to travel are sales, client management and project workforce who are focused on business growth, customer retention and the resumption of projects.

The study revealed 37% of respondents are reviewing their hotel suppliers to ensure they are Covid-safe and 25% of respondents rate Duty of Care their number one focus as travel resumes.

The average purchase window for domestic travel has dropped from seven to 10 days pre-Covid to three to four days post-Covid.

Chris Galanty, Global Corporate CEO, Flight Centre Travel Group, FCM and Corporate Traveller’s parent company, said: “Even now, as pockets of the industry turn towards recovery, the business travel landscape continues to shift and evolve. In preparation for a return to some normality, businesses and suppliers are reframing their priorities, processes and procedures. It is clear that uncertainty will remain for some time, particularly while governments re-impose border restrictions or quarantine periods.

“However, understanding how companies are resuming business travel and what factors are having the biggest impact on their priorities, will enable us to provide the best possible support going forwards.”

The full State of the Market report is available to download here