Corporate travel trends: What are organisations like you telling us?

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Corporate travel trends: What are organisations like you telling us?

With 72% of clients rating the service and support from Travel Counsellors for Business as 10/10, keeping close to our customers is what we do best.

Plus, with the business travel landscape changing so greatly over the duration of the pandemic, it’s no surprise our valued clients had a lot to say in two recent feedback surveys, conducted in March and June 2021.

Here’s what we found out.

 

The need for business travel remains high

We posed the statement “Business travel is important to enable my company to meet its objectives”

85% of respondents agreed with it.

What’s more, we found that clients are feeling the impact of travel restrictions more now than earlier in the year, with 20% of respondents citing a ‘severe impact’ on their business in June compared to only 10% back in March.

It’s also worth pointing out that only 5% of survey respondents said they had continued to travel throughout the pandemic as essential travellers.

Whilst the majority have only been minimally impacted by lockdown, the general sentiment from clients is that not travelling is a short-term adaptation, with most planning on getting back to travel when they can.

77% felt that digital solutions such as video conferencing are not a sufficient replacement for travel long-term.

Only 1% said that they’d adapted to using digital solutions in place of face-to-face interactions entirely.

 

So what makes our clients so eager to get back out there?

It’s simple; clients told us they travel to win new business and this is more difficult online.

Without social cues or body language, and throwing time differences, home-schooling and dodgy wifi into the mix, building a close relationship with a potential client is simply not as effective online.

‘Winning new business’ was the business function most impacted by travel restrictions, with ‘retaining business’ and ‘engaging employees’ coming in second and third.

When it comes to product development and delivering projects successfully, clients told us they’d adapted to online collaboration and found these functions were the least impacted by travel restrictions.

 

When it comes to travelling in a post-COVID world, what do clients need to feel confident?

Back in March, 82% cited the risk of catching COVID as a key concern when it comes to travelling, with ‘vaccination of travellers’ as the number one factor providing reassurance.

At the time our June survey went live, 40 million UK adults had received at least one dose of their vaccination which appears to have reassured our clients as predicted.

‘Risk of catching COVID’ was the number one concern in March. In June, it didn’t even make the top three.

As focus broadens from health and safety, the flexibility and support offered by a TMC is more crucial now.

When asked in June, ‘disruption to travel’, ‘flexibility when booking’ and ‘having an expert on hand to make and manage bookings’ were the top three most important factors for clients to consider when travelling in 2021.

There are of course some organisations who exercise greater caution and don’t plan to travel until 2022. For this minority, ‘risk of catching COVID’ and ‘the need to self-isolate or test negative’ remain the biggest barriers to travel.

 

And where does cost come into all of this?

The short answer is, it doesn’t really.

We took a range of factors clients may need to consider when it comes to travelling in 2021, compiled them into 9 options and asked clients to select the top 3 most important.

Only 16% selected cost.

Of those planning to travel in 2022, this decreased to 8%.

 

The upshot: People are worth travelling for

Whether its charming clients or engaging people, the value of meeting face-to-face cannot be underestimated.

The overall sentiment from our clients is a general acceptance that testing, change and risk are all part and parcel of the everyday now, and a willingness to travel with these factors in mind in order to reap the benefits.

As the world begins to open up bit by bit, now is the time to be talking about travel; revisiting, or creating for the first time, a watertight policy, agreeing what constitutes permissible travel and planning for the future.

As we get to know your organisation inside out, Travel Counsellors for Business are uniquely positioned to provide expertise and service for businesses looking to get back to travel.

If you’d like any more information about our trusted travel services, get in touch with Travel Counsellors for Business here.

 

Who completed the survey?

Representing our broader client portfolio, one-fifth of respondents are clients in tech, with manufacturing and professional services each comprising 12.5% of respondents.

Clients across a range of sectors, from charity, to entertainment, pharmaceuticals, and energy add to the mix.

In both March and June, 75% of respondents are the traveller, with 57% of them also having a responsibility for planning travel or safety. This reflects the nature of our clients’ organisations, many of whom are SMEs where the traveller holds multiple stakes.