Four priorities for corporate agencies seeking to accelerate recovery
Rajiv Rajian, Executive Vice President of Global Business Travel at Amadeus shares a column expressing his vision on this segment
By Rajiv Rajian, Executive Vice President, Global Business Travel at Amadeus
"When will business trips pick up?" It is a question that is on everyone's mind and that they ask me almost daily. And for good reason. This year has been a virtual "ground stop" for travelers from around the world, with devastating consequences for the entire tourism industry, including travel agencies.
It's no wonder agency executives are eager for travel to pick up, but it may take a while, according to research published in our new ebook, “Reboot. Recharge. Rethinking Business Travel ”, which we launched today. While 37% of executives surveyed believe that we will see travel rebound to 2019 levels sometime in 2022, a less optimistic majority, 46%, think that travel will not pick up until 2023 or beyond.
In the past few months, we have spoken with nearly 100 high-level business travel agency executives from around the world to better understand their views on the current situation and the factors that will shape the recovery. We also ask them about their top priorities, needs, and business strategy to help accelerate it.
Surviving the immediate effect of the global pandemic has been the top priority for business travel executives. While challenges remain, we must also focus on defining a strategy to recover from the crisis and emerge even stronger.
Drawing on insights from these executive discussions, along with what we are seeing at Amadeus from our position at the center of the travel ecosystem, we have identified four areas that should be a top priority for restarting, recharging and rethinking business travel.
1. Rebuild Traveler Confidence: Not surprisingly, personal safety is the most important barrier to re-travel, with 80% of respondents identifying it as their top concern. Travel providers have taken important steps to improve security and ease the concerns of business travelers (and their employers). It is up to technology providers and travel consultants to ensure that travelers have accurate and timely information to help them make the right decisions for them.
2. Regain profitability: Savings measures have been at the center of attention as travel demand plummeted and will continue to be. Travel agencies are looking for various ways to restructure and streamline operations to further control costs and increase efficiency. The other side of the equation is income generation. Demand from travelers can change as we start to recover and agencies must be able to provide their clients with the content they are looking for. Integrating this content into a traveler-centric shopping experience is critical to generating bookings (and revenue).
3. Leverage technology as a key element: The role of technology is significant in restarting and rethinking business travel. Perhaps the most profound long-term impact of the pandemic is the streamlining of the traveler experience along the journey. The innovative trends that we saw before the pandemic are accelerating to become the new norm.
4. Industry collaboration: Collaboration is essential to rethinking travel. The future of travel is a shared challenge, and only by overcoming silos and working more collectively than before within - and beyond - the travel industry can we succeed together in this effort not only to survive but to emerge stronger.
Our joint success will depend on us continuing to collectively identify key areas where we can unlock barriers to safe and stress-free travel, create great travel experiences from start to finish, and restore travel agency profitability while continuing to strengthen business value proposal.
To learn more about what business travel executives around the world are focusing on to accelerate their recovery - and how together we can restart.