Travel Agents

It’s a Bleasure Darling!

Nancy Hromin

Understanding today’s corporate traveller was a hot topic at this year’s Travelport conference.

A panel of keynote speakers discusses the lucrative corporate market estimated globally at over US$600 billion at Travelport’s annual conference in Seoul this week.

The impact of business travel on revenue and innovation is undeniably positive. In 2013, Oxford Economics created an algorithm which measured the ROI of every dollar spent on business travel with surprisingly astounding returns of US$3 profit for every dollar spent (based on US market but easily translatable for the Australian region.

Detailed statistics gathered spanning 18 years and 14 industries indicates that for every dollar invested in business travel, U.S. companies have experienced a US$9.50 return in terms of revenue.

Additionally, Forbes research shows that with every dollar spend globally on travel, in terms of GDP rankings, if travel spend was a country it would come 19th in world GDP rankings.

Deals get done face to face, sales get closed, ideas get generated, ventures come to fruition

Maintaining strong customer relationships is fundamental to any successful business. Nearly three-in-four (74%) of survey respondents from an Oxford economics study stated that meetings with clients have high impact on customer retention. According to business travellers, denying meetings with customers would have dramatic effects; with respondents believing that on average 42% of customers would eventually be lost without meeting contacts in person.

So, what opportunities does this present for travel agents?

Millennial business travel habits or “Bleasure” market

60% of millennials are more likely to extend their business trip into holidays. Where this was once frowned upon by corporates, it is now not only an acceptable practice, but an inexpensive benefit to offer executives and staff travelling.

When marketing to this group take into account FOMO (fear of missing out) approach resonates best, and appealing to their sense of wonder and adventure is an opportunity to worth pursuing.

Hotels can take advantage of all the extra people already on site

Innovative hoteliers are offering add-ons for wellness and spa treatments and even tours, which provide additional revenue opportunities for those already choosing to extend their stay.

Conferences and conventions will continue to be valued by business travellers

They provide a concentrated opportunity to interact with customers. “Seeing customers” was cited most frequently (62%) as a benefit of attending these events.

Adding partners or families to the mix

The trend is seeing a significant increase in the number of companies that now encourage meeting attendees to include their families to tag along for the experience. Travel agents are advised to use the relationships they already maintain, and business inept to identify and target prospective business travellers for a bonus leisure stay.

Panel Members included:

  • Simon Hague Partner Hague Norman (ex head of travel procurement for Morgan Stanley)
  • Kurt Knackstedt – CEO of Troovo and President of ACTE
  • Greg ONeill – President APAC-BCD Travel
  • Angelia Chew – Director Global travel Industry relations, Hilton
  • Dean Fowles, Unit Head – Travel, Asian Development Bank

Nancy Hromin is attending the Travelport Conference in Seoul on behalf of Travel Weekly and can be contacted at nancy@travelweekly.com.au

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