The pandemic has made business travel customers more appreciative of their travel arrangers, new research has revealed.
A Business Travel Association white paper, The Future of Business Travel, found 74% of corporate respondents “will now demand a duty of care and risk management procedure before making a booking”.
The paper, compiled using data from Amadeus, said: “This is good news for TMCs, who are uniquely placed to offer those travelling for work, and their employers, peace of mind as well as working with established government programmes such as Track and Trace to prioritise public health.”
The BTA also found many TMCs had used the pandemic to upgrade systems.
“Our interviewees suggested that 2-3 years of technological transformation took place in the first six months of the pandemic.
“This transformation will meet the returning travellers’ demands for contactless and risk managed travel. However, it does not mean that the human element of managed business travel is extinct,” it said.
The BTA found concern for the environment, which had risen pre-pandemic, “has been rapidly accelerated by Covid-19”. Corporates had identified a need for information on the cleanest ways to travel, the BTA said.
“From cleaner air statistics due to lower emission levels to a growing awareness of the ability to conduct business remotely, a more mindful return to travel is inevitable.”
The association also identified a theme of “consolidation and collapse” among TMCs which was expected to continue into 2022.
“Foreign interest and investment in the UK TMC community can also be anticipated as big names from the US and Middle East look to expand their presence in post-Brexit Britain,” it said.
The BTA also warned of a “talent gap that will be exposed as travel returns”.
“Furlough confusion, the collapse of business travel demand and the need to accelerate technological change has led to a mass exodus of employees from the sector,” it said.
“These are not entry level jobs, but skilled workers who have been snapped up by the professional and financial services industries amongst others.”