Lancer Leader Ally
Wednesday, August 17, 2022

This summer, you were hardly far from a new headline asserting another few hundred or thousand flights cancellations, which was generally attributed to staff shortages rather than the traditional weather delays. As we all know, time is money when it comes to business travel, so the delays or cancellations left travelers frustrated and corporate travel managers fuming.

A new survey from American Express Global Business Travel Company Egencia addressed those headaches and what it could mean for business travel moving forward. The survey found that nearly three quarters (74 percent) of business travelers are more likely to use digital tools like apps and virtual agents once their plans have been derailed to focus their options.

The survey queried regular corporate travelers (at least three trips per year) from the US, UK, and France regarding their experiences and found that 73 percent have had some sort of disruption while 69 percent now expect it will be the norm. Consequently, most (85 percent) say they are employing tactics to help prevent it by such as booking an early morning flight (46 percent) or avoiding certain airlines and airports (40 percent).

The good news: the vast majority of those surveyed—94 percent—still think business travel overall is beneficial. Face-to-face collaboration tops the list of travel benefits with nearly a third (30 percent) of all respondents choosing this reason. Only one age group disagreed—respondents aged 55 and older are more interested in the ability to finalize deals with in-person meetings, according to the survey.

“Business travelers are increasingly concerned about experiencing problems on the road and getting the support they need,” says Egencia President Mark Hollyhead. “Whatever the purpose for a trip, if you make the decision to travel it’s an investment in time. We want to be there for our customers and provide the technology and service to manage disruptions as seamlessly as possible.”

Some key takeaways:

  • Younger professionals are more likely (75 percent) to use tech to manage disrupted schedules than those over 55 (60 percent).
  • Gaining access to real-time updates was selected as the greatest benefit of using digital tools to manage changes to business travel by 43 percent of all respondents. The overwhelming majority agree that technology adds value to trip management with only 4 percent disagreeing.
  • There is an appetite for more automated options to smooth travel disruption in the future, with more than a third (34 percent) of frequent travelers calling for predictive flight alerts and 28 percent wishing for automatically rebooked flights when things go wrong.

Visit egencia.com for more information.

[08.16.22]

Global travel prices are predicted to continue to increase in the remaining months of 2022 and throughout 2023, according to the 2023 Global Business Travel Forecast, published recently by CWT, the B2B4E travel management platform, and the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA). Rising fuel prices, labor shortages, and inflationary pressures in raw material costs are the primary drivers of the expected price growth, according to the report, which used anonymized data generated by CWT and GBTA, with publicly available industry information, and econometric and statistical modeling developed by the Avrio Institute. 

GBTA

“What we are seeing now are multiple factors coming into play when corporate travel buyers and procurement officers model their travel programs. This eighth joint annual forecast marries statistical travel data and trend analysis with macroeconomic influences to provide a cornerstone reference point for their corporate business travel planning ahead,” said GBTA CEO Suzanne Neufang. 

Ground Transportation

Global car rental prices fell 2.5 percent in 2020 from 2019, before rising 5.1 percent in 2021. Prices are expected to increase 7.3 percent in 2022, hitting new highs, and rise a further 6.8 percent in 2023. 

GBTA

The vehicle industry remains capacity constrained and rental agencies that reduced fleet sizes in the wake of the pandemic have not yet fully recovered—due in part to component shortages and supply chain disruptions that have reduced global auto production. 

Rental agencies have reverted to buying used vehicles to increase fleet sizes and are keeping their vehicles longer. Some agencies are also buying vehicles from automakers outside of their historically supported brands. 

Skyrocketing prices, vehicle shortages, and the need for visibility into carbon emissions from door-to-door are driving corporate travel managers to factor ground transport into full trip planning from the beginning. This is especially true when factoring in the inclusion of electric vehicles, and while widespread adoption may still be a few years away, personal preference should not be underrated.  

Meetings and Events

“Demand for business travel and meetings is back with a vengeance, of that there is absolutely no doubt,” said CWT CEO Patrick Andersen. “Labor shortages across the travel and hospitality industry, rising raw material prices, and greater awareness for responsible travel are all having an impact on services, but predicted pricing is, on the whole, on par with 2019.”

Prices have increased in all regions across most categories of spend, fueled by pent-up demand, a desire to build company culture, and an uncertain economic outlook. The cost-per-attendee for meetings and events in 2022 is expected to be around 25 percent higher than in 2019, and it’s forecast to rise a further 7 percent in 2023. 

Alongside pent-up demand, corporate events are now competing with many other types of events that were cancelled in 2020. And, with many companies having given up office space during the pandemic in favor of remote working, they are now booking meeting spaces when staff gather in person, further fueling demand. 

Shorter lead times for events, varying from one to three months versus six to 12 months, are also contributing to this perfect storm, perhaps underscored by corporate concerns that the situation they face today could change very rapidly. This is particularly noticeable within Asia Pacific, which has been slower than other regions to re-open post-pandemic, with ongoing restrictions in China prompting clients to make sure their events can go ahead, and as quickly as possible.

Air
Business travel airfares fell more than 12 percent in 2020 from 2019 followed by an additional 26 percent decline in 2021. Economy ticket prices fell more than 24 percent from 2019 to 2021, while premium tickets fell 33 percent. Prices are expected to rise 48.5 percent in 2022, but even with this steep price increase, prices are expected to remain below pre-pandemic levels until 2023. Following an increase of 48.5 percent in 2022, prices are expected to rise 8.4 percent in 2023. 

Rising demand and continued price rises on jet fuel, which have seen prices more than double in some markets to over $160/barrel according to S&P Global, are putting upward pressure on ticket prices. 

Premium class tickets comprised over 7 percent of all tickets purchased in 2019. The share of premium class tickets fell to 6.5 percent in 2020 and to 4.5 percent in 2021 but have started to rise in 2022. Through the first half of the year, premium tickets made up 6.2 percent of all tickets purchased. A rising share of premium class tickets will result in higher average fares as average ticket price comprises economy and premium.  

International and cross border bookings are recovering across most regions which will result in a higher share of international ticket bookings and a corresponding higher average ticket price despite uncertainties caused by the war in Ukraine. Following two years of minimal to no expenditure, business travelers are likely to be willing to spend more on tickets, especially as availability reduces due to labor shortages. This upward trend is largely due to widespread vaccine rollouts and border re-openings.  

You can read the report online here.  

Visit gbta.org for more information.

[08.16.22]

 

Last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued updated guidance regarding COVID exposure and illness for general settings. Citing the number of tools and treatments available, as well as a better understanding of transmissibility and high population levels of vaccination/previous exposure to the virus, the CDC is relaxing its quarantine procedures. These guidelines are current as of 8/11/2022. 

CDC

Vaccines: The CDC continues to recommend that everyone is up to date with vaccination to lower risk of death, hospitalization, and severe illness.

Exposed: Wear a high-quality mask for 10 days and get tested on day 5 instead of quarantining.

Symptoms: Isolate from others if you are sick and suspect that you have COVID but do not yet have test results.

Positive Test: Regardless of vaccination status, stay home for at least 5 days and isolate from others in your home.  You are likely most infectious during these first 5 days. Wear a high-quality mask when you must be around others at home and in public.

  • If after 5 days you are fever-free for 24 hours without the use of medication, and your symptoms are improving, or you never had symptoms, you may end isolation after day 5.
  • Regardless of when you end isolation, avoid being around people who are more likely to get very sick from COVID until at least day 11.
  • Wear a high-quality mask through day 10.
  • If COVID symptoms worsen or return, restart your isolation at day 0. Talk to a healthcare provider if you have questions about your symptoms or when to end isolation.

Illness Severity: If you had moderate illness (shortness of breath or had difficulty breathing) or severe illness (hospitalization) due to COVID or you have a weakened immune system, isolate through day 10. If you had  severe illness or have a weakened immune system, consult your doctor before ending isolation. Ending isolation without a viral test may not be an option for you. If you are unsure if your symptoms are moderate or severe or if you have a weakened immune system, talk to a healthcare provider for further guidance.

The full updated guidelines are available here.  

[08.16.22]