New research reveals worrying impact of COVID-19 on corporate travellers

business background, people walking in airport, double exposure

Seventy-eight per cent of corporate travellers globally believe coronavirus-related travel restrictions have had a negative impact on business growth, new research has found.

According to a global survey of Corporate Travel Management (CTM) customers, this impact was felt even harder, with 90 per cent of respondents experiencing a negative impact on business growth as a result of the inability to travel.

In all of CTM’s operating regions, customers were experiencing a downward trend in both financial performance (68 per cent) and the ability to support and engage with customers and employees (65 per cent).

The survey also found that travel restrictions have led to project delays and impacted new business development, relationship building, and training for customers and employees.

CTM managing director Jamie Pherous said the survey findings reinforce the important role corporate travel plays in driving business performance and highlights how it will contribute to economic recovery.

“These trends all need to be reversed for business to recover, and our customers are telling us they are keen to return to business travel as long as they are confident their people are safe,” he said.

“People want to get back out there. It’s part of the desire to return to a sense of normality and travelling to spend time with customers, and employees is an important part of that.”

Just 14 per cent of CTM’s corporate customers believe that changes to their company’s travel policies made in relation to COVID-19 would be permanent.

The most common permanent changes included implementing additional travel approval measures and specific measures for pandemics.

Furthermore, CTM customers said government travel advice about border controls, quarantine measures and destination health advice, and traveller tracking and emergency communication tools would be key to enabling a safe and effective return to business travel.

Pherous said that with travel restrictions expected to ease over the coming months, CTM was integrating additional airline data into its proprietary online booking tool, Lightning, to allow customers to feel confident about their return to business travel.

“The data we are integrating into our point of sale tools provides travel bookers with crucial airline information relating to hygiene and cleanliness, health screening, passenger and crew wellbeing, and flexible conditions for the services they are booking, at the time of booking, to ensure travellers feel confident that they are safe to travel,” he said.

Featured image: iStock/anyaberkut

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