Some 50% of organisations have begun travelling again, but with stipulations, according to the third phase of a combined multinational survey by FCm Travel Solutions. The State of the Market review for 2020, by 4th Dimension, comprised one-to-one in-depth interviews with 250 customers globally.
The workshops examined a new path forward for the remainder of 2020 and into 2021, as corporate travel resumes amid new safety and hygiene requirements and protocols.
While half of respondents said they have employees already travelling or booking reservations to travel in the near future, resuming travel will be different for everyone.
The combined results of the research show that over 90% of businesses indicated that they planned to travel domestically and short-haul international flights within three months of governments re-opening borders and lifting restrictions such as quarantine. However, the number of trips taken will be lower, as only 26% of businesses are planning to return to their pre-Covid-19 levels for domestic travel during 2021. The remaining 74% of businesses predict reduced domestic travel for the immediate year ahead.
Pre-Covid, the average number of business trips per traveller was six-to-eight per year. This number is likely to fall between three and four trips per person, per year until 2023. Clients still have long-haul travel plans on hold indefinitely, as they assess the balance between need and safety.
In particular, national businesses in the USA, Australia, China and New Zealand were less likely to have long-haul international plans for 2021, indicating only domestic and short-haul international travel will be planned for next year.
Chris Galanty, Global Corporate Chief Executive of FCM-owner Flight Centre Travel Group, said: “Engaging with our customers on the impact of Covid-19 via this three-phase state of the market research project was vital in order to understand our customers’ sentiments and the best way we can support them during a period of rapid and continuing seismic change and uncertainty.
“Even now, as pockets of the industry turn towards recovery, the business travel landscape continues to shift and evolve. In preparation for a return to some normality, businesses and suppliers are reframing their priorities, processes and procedures.
“It is clear that uncertainty will remain for some time, particularly while governments re-impose border restrictions or quarantine periods.
“However, understanding how companies are resuming business travel, and what factors are having the biggest impact on their priorities, will enable us to provide the best possible support going forward.”