(20/10/22) Sabre has unveiled the results of a survey of travel agents and travel management companies (TMCs) in Asia Pacific, which highlights the changing face of corporate travel as recovery continues to gain strength.
The research was carried out across Asia Pacific, to gain insight into the evolving expectations of business travellers, and how corporate sellers in the region are adapting to service these new demands.
Sabre surveyed approximately 600 corporate travel agents and TMCs in Australia, Bangladesh, Brunei, Cambodia, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, New Zealand, Pakistan, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam. The survey was also translated from English into four languages: Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Vietnamese.
Respondents pointed to a growing need for the corporate travel industry to tailor service offerings for new workforce realities, such as remote and blended working arrangements, while embracing technology to capitalize on, and drive, ongoing recovery.
Businessman at Suvarnabhumi Airport. Picture by Steven Howard of TravelNewsAsia.com
Key findings include:
– The majority of corporate travel agents (84%) have changed their business priorities as a result of the pandemic, and are now focused on optimizing costs and efficiencies, while meeting customer and business demands with fewer employees.
– Four-fifths of respondents have adopted new technological solutions to manage COVID19 related risk over the past two years. And, of those who haven’t, 42% plan to do so within the next two years. The most popular solutions are travel risk management tools, automated workflows and virtual payment tools.
– Half of agents said a rise in internal corporate travel, to bring remote workers together, will create recovery opportunities, while 45% said emerging corporate travel markets are important for growth.
– There’s strong optimism in the market, with 82% saying they expect a return to pre-pandemic corporate travel levels, and 15% expecting a boom greater than pre-COVID19, within the next 12 months.
– More than two-thirds of respondents have seen an increase in bookings in the three months to August. Most are reporting an increase of not more than 30% but there’s a notable 14% with an increase of more than 50%.
– 55% say company COVID19-related travel restrictions are easing, and 38% say total travel spend is increasing.
– Cost remains a key consideration. More than two-thirds have seen a moderate or significant increase in bookings with low-cost carriers. The trend is most prevalent in North Asia where there’s been a 42% switch from FSCs to LCCs.
– Corporate travellers place high priority on information, flexibility, and hygiene. However, companies are also turning their attention to sustainability as one of the key personalization priorities for corporate travel.
“Sabre’s own booking data is showing that corporate travel is coming back strong, so it’s heartening to see those same results borne out among our travel agency partners through our new research,” said Brett Thorstad, Vice President, Sabre Travel Solutions, Agency Sales. “However, while business travel is rebounding, what is clear is that it is returning differently. It is important, as an industry, that we understand these changes, and the reasons for them, and we are prepared to drive our own evolution, supported by robust technology. In this way, we can power increased revenue and efficiency across the travel ecosystem, while ensuring corporate travel agents are best placed to create the frictionless, tailored experiences that business travellers want and expect.”
Download the 8.39 MB .pdf highlighting the results here.