Bow Tie Briefing – looking back over 2020

21 December, 2020

<!-- [if gte mso 9]> <![endif]--><!-- [if gte mso 9]> Normal 0 false false false EN-GB X-NONE X-NONE <![endif]--><!-- [if gte mso 9]> <![endif]-->Time flies! As 2021 is approaching soon, we take this opportunity to recap coverage from my 'Bow-Tie Briefing' sessions over the past couple of months - from print opinions to online discussions as part of CAPA Live each month. Although we are under one of the most challenging year due to COVID, corporate travel quite rightly continues to be covered in strong and high frequency.

But, what are the major new risks and challenges? Michael Molloy of Rio Tinto told us in the Oct-2020 CAPA Live that duty of care and traveller confidence will continue to be the most important elements, alongside self-service, complexity of options but he anticipates that valuable tools will be those that can navigate the complex landscape of fares, deals and restrictions. Adriana Nainggolan of Autodesk said in the Nov-2020 edition that the balance of trust and expectation have shifted and that mental wellbeing and efficiency have been lost at least in a short term and there is a new significant financial pressure to businesses. Mritunjaya Mohan of Adobe raised concerns in the Dec-2020 edition on how the business travellers' confidence will be regained.

What new measures and policy are being levied? Michael Molloy acknowledged that as more people work in isolation, the need for physical human contact and interaction will grow. As such, meetings, conferences/expo may gain importance and ultimately become more broadly attended, he said. Adriana Nainggolan noted Autodesk HR conducts critical incidence stress/employee assistant programme, while Mritunjaya Mohan said Adobe is Asking sustainability, health and hygiene questions to the suppliers. All highlighted how following safety guidelines is critical.

Working from home will not be permanent: Michael Molloy acknowledged working from home wouldn't be applicable for all jobs/industries, while Adriana Nainggolan said staff in many countries, for example China and Singapore, have the culture of liking to go into the office. Mritunjaya Mohan said that while the working-from-home culture is growing now, he thinks that when the pandemic eases people will start returning to office. He said it is not a true replacement of travelling nor office working and is only a temporary phenomena that does not have the same kind of achievement with face-to-face.

Will future job openings in travel be affected? Michael Molloy said there will be a place for the strategic management of travel spend and the efficient management of policies, systems and related activities. Adriana Nainggolan sees a shift of the role of Travel Manager, but noted that some skill sets cannot be replaced easily by artificial intelligence (AI). Company culture determines this, but she believes the culture part cannot be understood by AI. Similarly, Mritunjaya Mohan believes AI will not replace the travel management job and the industry will still need managers to handle/implement new technology.

The future of Travel: Michael Molloy believes corporate travel will be back one day, and not too distant into the future, bigger and better with a future that will be fantastic. Adriana Nainggolan sees a bright future that when the virus disappears will see people able to travel again. Mritunjaya Mohan believes the future of travel industry is great, but with a phased approach to recovery. He forecasts every quarter, there will be jump of business travel.

Here follows all of my regular Bow-Tie Briefings published on CTC - Corporate Travel Community site:

I trust that you have enjoyed reading all of them😊! Once again, thank you everyone for supporting CTC - Corporate Travel Community this year. Due to the holiday season our next Bow-Tie Briefing will be published on 11-Jan-2021. As a sneak preview, we will have a great conversation with Rajdev Bhattacharya - Global Head Travel and Hospitality & Business Head, of Tech giant - Wipro Ltd on the topic of "Critical factors to consider for post-COVID corporate travel", Until then... Happy Holidays!