July 19, 2024

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New report reveals business travel outlook in APAC and the shape of recovery

BUSINESS travel agencies in Asia Pacific (APAC) are optimistic about recovery for this corporate segment as borders open and travel bubble arrangments are established between key markets.

Executives from the APAC companies were among about 100 of their counterparts around the globe interviewed by Amadeus during Q32020 for its new report, Reboot. Recharge. Rethink Business Travel. Among the views sought were factors that will shape recovery, top priorities, needs and business strategy to help accelerate recovery. 

About 38{46dd52bca0123ad67b2d1222819e83fd0a56e45ca5068239f05f0c514f1e20f9} of the respondents from APAC expressed their optimism that business travel would resume first, while 47{46dd52bca0123ad67b2d1222819e83fd0a56e45ca5068239f05f0c514f1e20f9} said it would be at the same pace as leisure travel  (47{46dd52bca0123ad67b2d1222819e83fd0a56e45ca5068239f05f0c514f1e20f9}).

They forecast recovery would be across sectors, with 70{46dd52bca0123ad67b2d1222819e83fd0a56e45ca5068239f05f0c514f1e20f9} listing marine and energy companies resuming travel first.

Other responses from APAC respondents:

• The need for beyond-air content: 18{46dd52bca0123ad67b2d1222819e83fd0a56e45ca5068239f05f0c514f1e20f9} of respondents
said hotels content would increase in demand, alongside insurance (15{46dd52bca0123ad67b2d1222819e83fd0a56e45ca5068239f05f0c514f1e20f9}), new
ancillary services (9{46dd52bca0123ad67b2d1222819e83fd0a56e45ca5068239f05f0c514f1e20f9}) and car rentals (9{46dd52bca0123ad67b2d1222819e83fd0a56e45ca5068239f05f0c514f1e20f9}).

• The shift from unmanaged to managed travel: Described as the ‘most voted” business travel evolution post-pandemic by the report. With travel restrictions and border closures changing frequently across markets most of the executives surveyed believed that there would be strong need for real-time information on quarantine requirements, schedule changes and route management tied to the establishment of travel bubbles.

• Factors to drive business travel demand: More than one third (39{46dd52bca0123ad67b2d1222819e83fd0a56e45ca5068239f05f0c514f1e20f9}) said the removal of mandatory quarantine periods would be critical for significant business travel rebound, coupled with the widespread availability of an effective vaccine.

• Beyond pricing: While travel budget was seen as a key driver for business travel pre-Covid APAC business travel executives believe price will be less important, with duty of care, risk management and traveller safety taking priority. Companies in APAC are expected to prefer “larger travel brands” that have robust and regulated safety standards – a trend observed across the travel industry. Only 24{46dd52bca0123ad67b2d1222819e83fd0a56e45ca5068239f05f0c514f1e20f9} said travel policies would be a key driver, compared to the global average of 48{46dd52bca0123ad67b2d1222819e83fd0a56e45ca5068239f05f0c514f1e20f9}.

The report also revealed the most imminent challenge for APAC business travel agencies is survival. With the sharp drop in business demand many are concerned with cash flow and are tightly managing cost. 46{46dd52bca0123ad67b2d1222819e83fd0a56e45ca5068239f05f0c514f1e20f9} of those interviewed listed cost optimisation as the top priority in the mid-term, with focus on operational optimisation using automation and digitisation. This was followed by building critical workforce capabilities to manage new technology and deliver better journeys.

Renaud Nicolle, vice president of business travel APAC at Amadeus, opined that “flexible, scalable and cloud-enabled tools coupled with agile working practices” would enable companies to innovate to meet new demands brought on by the pandemic. “Data-led artificial intelligence and machine learning can speed up operational and commercial readiness at an unprecedented pace. Recovery will come. Rethinking travel is the first step.”

Download the Reboot. Recharge. Rethink Business Travel e-book here.

Featured image credit: whyframestudio/Getty