Majority of businesses will take a phased approach to resuming
domestic and international corporate travel over the next 12 months,
according to a survey conducted by FCM Travel Solutions.
As countries emerge from the Covid-19 pandemic, the global travel
management company surveyed 1,600 business travel managers, bookers and
travellers in EMEA, Asia, the Americas, India, Australia and New Zealand
for its State of the Market survey.
Clients taking part in the study, which was conducted by FCM’s
consulting arm 4th Dimension (4D), spanned national businesses spending
around US$100,000 per annum to large multi-national customers with
annual travel spends of over US$100 million.
Seventy per cent of participants agreed or strongly agreed that they
expected to increase business travel gradually over a period time with
consensus peaking in business travel returning domestically in one to
three months (40% of respondents) and internationally in six to twelve
months (32% of respondents).
Factors for resuming business travel
The easing or complete lift of border restrictions ranked as the
primary trigger for resuming business travel (70% said this would have
significant impact). This is closely followed by organisational
endorsement that it is safe to travel (68% of respondents indicated
traveller safety will have a significant impact and must be reflected in
travel policy). However only half of those surveyed believe that their
business travel volumes will eventually reach pre-pandemic levels.
Which region will lead corporate travel recovery?
Business travel recovery will be led by Asia and EMEA, according to
survey participants in those regions. In Asia, 50% of respondents have
already begun booking domestic travel and 37% expect to resume
international travel in three to six months. In EMEA, 37% of survey
participants expect to travel domestically within one to three months,
and 32% anticipate starting to book international trips within three to
This is due to faster opening of borders intra region and easer movement geographically compared to the rest of the world.
Conversely, there was high uncertainty about when domestic and
international business travel will resume significantly in the Americas
with 28% of respondents saying they did not know when travel would
“Many companies will be looking to Asia and Europe, where
restrictions have started to ease gradually,” said Bertrand Saillet,
managing director for Asia, FCM Travel Solutions.
“From these insights, we want to optimise efforts and orchestrate
travel recovery by aligning our client’s future travel policies with
their business recovery plan. This research reveals the fundamental
principles of an organisation’s focus on business travel after the
pandemic and will help us to translate into tangible actions
contributing towards a corporate’s travel recovery programme," he added.
Other notable findings in the State of the Market study’s first phase are as follows:
-Companies in the mining and construction sectors indicate the
fastest return to travel: 64% of respondents in mining expect to travel
domestically within one to three months; 69% of respondents in
construction expect to travel domestically and internationally within
the same timeframe.
-Construction (39%), training & education (35%) and financial
services (34%) sectors indicate increasing business travel within first
six months, due to a shorter lead time in arranging business travel.
-Winning new business (43%) and managing existing client
relationships (39%) are the two dominant business activities motivating
organisations to a return to travel.
Phase 2 of the study will review and monitor any marked variation in
the first round of results while governments continue to relax lockdown
restrictions, propose air travel corridors, or implement quarantine
periods for international travellers.