Travel TrendsMoving into 2021, Amadeus predicts duty of care, risk management and traveller safety driving business travel recovery in APAC.

It's the end of unmanaged travel as we know it

Business travellers will need real-time information on quarantine requirements and travel bubbles.
Business travellers will need real-time information on quarantine requirements and travel bubbles. Photo Credit: Getty Images/whyframestudio

Diversification, digitisation and duty of care will be the three key trends influencing business travel recovery in Asia Pacific, according to a new Amadeus report.

The report 'Reboot. Recharge. Rethink Business Travel' surveyed almost 100 executives from business travel agencies globally, enquiring about their priorities, needs and business strategies in 2021 and beyond.

In APAC, majority of executives showed optimism that business travel would resume first (38%) or even at the same pace as leisure travel (74%), with more travel bubble arrangements in sight, such as the twice delayed Singapore and Hong Kong deal. Resumption is expected to vary across sectors, with 70% of respondents indicating that marine and energy companies would restart travel first.

The big question: What does business travel look like going into 2021?

The "most voted" business travel evolution among all respondents, was the shift from unmanaged to managed travel. With travel restrictions and border closures constantly updated across markets, the need for real-time information on quarantine requirements, schedule changes and route management tied to the establishment of travel bubbles will be key.

In driving business travel demand, more than one third (39%) of respondents indicated that only by removing mandatory quarantine periods — coupled with an effective vaccine — would business travel rebound in a significant manner.

Travel budgets, while a key driver for business travel post-Covid, are not considered as important as duty of care, risk management and traveller safety.

Companies in APAC are predicted to prefer bigger travel names that have in place robust and regulated safety standards. Just 24% believe travel policies will be a key driver, compared to a 48% global score.

But at the end of the day, the report showed respondents' greatest worry: Survival.

More than 60% of respondents said cost optimisation would be their top priority in the mid-term, with a focus on operational optimisation using automation and digitisation. Other factors: building critical workforce capabilities to manage new technology and deliver better journeys.

“For our customers, technology is providing the opportunity to evolve at a pace that was never possible just a few decades ago. Flexible, scalable and cloud-enabled tools coupled with agile working practices allow companies to develop new innovations quickly to meet the new demands placed on them due to the pandemic. Data-led artificial intelligence and machine learning can speed up operational and commercial readiness at an unprecedented pace," said Renaud Nicolle, vice president of Business Travel APAC, Amadeus.

"Recovery will come. Rethinking travel is the first step."

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