Redefining the corporate travel programme – how will it look in the ‘new normal’?

27 April, 2020

Corporate travel will bounce back! While we have all become regular users of video conferencing, face-to face remains an essential part of business. There’s something special about meeting in real life, especially when you have been forced into lockdown for months.

Some analysts have suggested that business travel may not hit the same heights, and having adapted to technology a number of businesses will stick with it, but in our mind that will only likely substitute a small percentage of travel trips.

Right now it is unclear just when we will start to see the rebound. The Covid-19 crisis is like nothing we have seen previously so there is no benchmark to make assumptions against. This is unchartered territory.

As countries start to open their borders, business travel will quickly return to some degree. More than half travel managers have said they expect business travel to respond in the next three months – around a third have said it will within two months.

A recent poll of over 100 corporate travel managers who work for BCD Travel clients found over two in five said they expected business travel to return to former levels this year - just 10% predicted that it would not fully return until at least 2022, while 3% said it would never return.

So much remains unclear. But what is certain though is just like the airline and airport experience will change and new travel procedures will need to be followed, the corporate travel programme will look different as we emerge from the current Covid-19 pandemic.

The Corporate Travel Community (CTC) will aim to provide some insight into the rebooting of the corporate travel programme and what it will look like in 2H2020, 2021 and beyond to its members and the broader corporate travel industry in the first of its new digital Masterclass series ‘Towards the ‘new normal’ travel programme’.

Each fortnight, the series aims to provide insight for travel management professionals on addressing critical issues as they adapt their travel programmes under the impact of Covid-19. The world has seen devastating health, economic and social impacts, varying by country and region and the Masterclass series will explore how buyers from different regions are adapting and being agile in their approach to business connectivity and the loss of travel?

The first Masterclass is scheduled for 29-Apr-2020 and will bring together Bruce Finch, an ex-senior director of global travel and meeting services; Eric Bailey, global director travel, venue source & payment, Microsoft; Peter Harbison, chairman emeritus, CAPA - Centre for Aviation; Catherine Craig, global director, CTC - Corporate Travel Community; and Benson Tang, executive director, CTC - Corporate Travel Community.

The session will explore how corporates deal with downturns in air capacity and which supplier community they are most concerned about; will look at protocols in crisis management and duty of care and how they look in the context of a global pandemic?

It will look at how corporate travel bans could be unwound and what will drive this movement, as well as focusing on traveller wellbeing and how travel programmes can assist with ensuring the wellbeing, security and mental health of travellers in a Covid-19 world.

This inaugural CTC Masterclass will take place at 13:00 Australian Eastern Standard Time this coming Wednesday, 29-Apr-2020. You can find out more details, register for the webinar and for future CTC Masterclasses here: CTC Masterclass Series: Towards the ‘new normal’ travel programme