The travel industry is resistant to change. For example, a substantial number of US travelers still use traveler's checks. Even though change is difﬁcult within the travel industry, it has now come to a point where things must change. What does this mean?
COVID-19 Changes the face of business travel
First, it is estimated that not all business travel will resume at previous rates following the COVID-19 pandemic. Up to 36% of business travel may permanently disappear (or at least take a very long time to come back) even once infection rates subside, but this doesn't spell the end of the business travel industry.[i] Instead, travel management companies (TMCs) have an opportunity to make the remaining business travel more proﬁtable and more efﬁcient, allowing them to generate the same or greater revenue from a smaller number of customers.
Right now, some businesses have made the following realizations:
- A drop in travel expenses is not necessarily correlated with a drop in overall corporate revenue.
- Many business processes that used to require in-person meetings can be completed via videoconferencing at a lower cost.
- There's a low barrier entry for adopting technologies that enable remote work.
- Future business travel must be deﬁnitively linked to ROI.
While these realizations may seem like depressing news for TMCs, there is a potential upside. This is because businesses may understand that future business travel must generate ROI—but they don't have systems in place that allow them to measure that ROI while keeping costs down. TMCs, on the other hand, are able to offer their expertise as a service.
To remain relevant, in other words, TMCs can transition from being travel enablers to travel gatekeepers. They can minimize costs for their corporate clients, while maximizing proﬁts for themselves. They can also help corporate clients identify which categories of travel generate the best ROI. What does this look like?
Download our new eBook today to learn 5 steps your clients can take now to control the ramp of business travel expense post-pandemic!