Demand for business travel will remain soft at the start of 2024 but will reach pre-Covid levels by the end of the year.
This was the prediction from Chris Thelen, CEO of TakeTwo Eton Group, as the TMC reported winning $45 million in new business in the UK, US and Ireland in 2023.
The new wins include clients in financial services, asset management, energy, well known household brands and a leading supermarket retailer.
Thelen said the company has also retained 98% of its SME clients throughout 2023.
“Elections in the UK and US – two core markets for our business – could add to economic uncertainty, but I am confident that TakeTwo Eton will experience another strong year of growth in 2024,” he said.
“We are seeing genuine demand for our independent travel service solution from clients who are dissatisfied with the service levels they are getting from the large mega TMCs.”
Thelen predicts that 2024 will be a pivotal year for OBTs and digital solutions in terms of adapting to meet travel buyers’ need to access and book full travel content.
“I believe the industry will start to see a shift away from the OBT as the entry point for booking corporate travel and TMCs will increasingly deliver services directly to customers via channels such as MS Teams, Slack and mobile apps,” he said.
“TMCs will also recognise the need to reinvent the way corporate travel programmes are managed. There needs to be a shift from treating policy areas like sustainability, wellbeing, cost reduction, traveller experience and disruption, in isolation.
“Travel will begin to focus much more on justification for travel, wellbeing and demonstrating the value of travel and how that can be weaved into a dynamic travel programme.”