By Lisa James, published 24/06/20
Higher levels of optimism in the corporate travel sector are starting to emerge, according to new research by the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA).
For the first time since the start of the pandemic, supplier members are starting to see some uplift in bookings. This positive trend is supported by the slight increase in member companies looking to restart travel in the next one to three months.
GBTA’s recent poll, taken between June 9 and June 14, shows half (49%) of companies plan to resume domestic travel in the next one to three months, and one in five (22%) plan to resume all travel in the next one to three months as well.
The poll reveals a small uptick in the number of companies allowing some essential travel (44% compared to 37% in the previous GBTA poll released on May 20, 2020).
Small indications of recovery are also evident among suppliers, with more travel suppliers and travel management companies (TMCs) reporting seeing an increase in bookings.
Almost half (46%) of travel suppliers and TMCs report seeing an increase in their bookings in the past week, while one in four say their bookings have remained the same.
Four in ten say they feel more optimistic than they were last week (compared to 28% who felt the same in the previous GBTA coronavirus poll). Half feel the same as they did last week, and only one in ten feel more pessimistic about the industry’s path to recovery than they felt a week ago.
When asked about the impact of COVID-19 on the industry, most companies feel the business travel industry has experienced the worst in terms of cancelled flights (86%), hotel operations suspension (78%), layoffs/furloughs (52%) and revenue impact (47%).
However, one in three believe the worst is yet to come in terms of layoffs/furloughs (31%) and revenue loss (34%).
Meanwhile, GBTA CEO Scott Solombrino has been put on administrative leave while the organisation further investigates recent allegations of misconduct against him.
GBTA senior staff who previously reported to the CEO will now report directly to the Executive Committee of the Board.