FCM polls business travel trends

SINGAPORE, 10 July 2020: Most companies will only resume business travel when they are convinced it is safe to do so, according to the second poll in a multi-national ‘State of the Market’ study by FCM Travel Solutions.

The majority will also revamp their travel policies to reflect the increased duty of care considerations post Covid-19 era based on the poll of 1600 business travel managers who were surveyed for the second poll in June.

Repeating the study within one month of the first poll enabled FCM to gauge any shift in clients’ business travel intentions as countries continue to review lockdown restrictions, implement quarantine periods or air corridors; and as airlines and hotels introduce hygiene and sanitation measures.

When asked to rank which triggers would prompt resuming business travel, easing or lifting border restrictions still came top with 93% of respondents saying it has significant or some impact. However, the second trigger (89%) is ‘our organisation deems it safe to travel, and this is reflected in our travel policy’.

In terms of changes to travel policy post-Covid-19, 59% of participants said that traveller and supplier health and hygiene factors would be a top priority. Duty of care obligations ranked the second most dominant area for change (44% of respondents). Consolidation of bookings through a travel management company (TMC) also emerged as a priority with 21%, saying that they would not shift to higher levels of online booking adoption.

“The results have confirmed our expectations that there is considerable interest for streamlining and analysing information flows using a combination of human and artificial intelligence,” said FCM Travel solutions managing director for Asia, Bertrand Saillet. “Two of the biggest triggers are border changes and institutionalising travel safety in an organisation’s travel policy.”

In response, FCM is ramping up its duty of care support for customers significantly, starting with the launch of Traveller Hub, an interactive resource providing extensive up-to-date Covid-19 travel information.

Users can search by supplier category, country or region for the latest news on border changes and restrictions; airline routes and safety procedures for travellers; hotel re-openings and hygiene measures; as well as rail travel and car hire announcements.

Traveller resources also include tips, frequently asked questions and useful links to help customers plan and pack for their next trip safely. The Traveller Hub also features a live interactive map, delivered by travel safety specialist Sitata, which shows areas to avoid, number of Covid-19 cases per country, recovery rates, and local social distancing rules.

In addition, Traveller Hub incorporates an innovative AI conversation-based messaging tool on the home page provided by cutting-edge technology developer Landbot. The chatbot is embedded in the site and enables users to seek answers to any coronavirus-related travel questions in a live chat environment.

The Traveller Hub is fully integrated within FCM Hub, the gateway to the TMC’s suite of technology solutions and can also be accessed via Sam, the AI-based mobile app used by FCM clients’ business travellers.

FCM Travel Solutions is one of the largest travel management companies in the world, and the flagship global business travel division of Flight Centre Travel Group. FCM’s network spans 97+ countries, employing over 6000 staff.

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