SINGAPORE, 11 October 2021: FCM Asia, a leading travel management company, has reported an 89% rise in corporate travel bookings from Singapore to Germany.
This came on the back of the Vaccinated Travel Lanes announcement on 8 September that caused a significant leap in corporate travel. FCM’s travel bookings to Germany doubled in September.
“There is no doubt corporate travel will take some time to recover. However, we expect this momentum to continue, especially as we head into year-end, as companies and travellers’ travel intent remains high, especially to VTL destinations,” said FCM’s vice president in Asia, Vicki Parris. “For bookings out of Singapore, Germany has moved up three places and is now the top destination, replacing the USA as the top destination.”
VTL flights soar high with corporate travellers: surprising shifts in purpose and cost of travel
An analysis of FCM’s data revealed that almost 100% of people returning from Munich and Frankfurt are on VTL flights. Travellers have switched from non-VTL flights or transferred from other German cities onto VTL flights out of Frankfurt or Munich so they can enter Singapore without the need for quarantine.
“We are seeing a very positive outlook with corporate travellers eager to embrace the VTLs. Corporate travel and the corresponding customer experience are getting a new lease of life. With the pandemic taking its toll on relationships and mental well-being, we also noticed a change in the purpose of travel among our clients,” said Parris.
While leisure, bleisure and home leave usually account for less than 5% of FCM’s booking volume in the past, FCM saw a massive uptake in clients’ bookings for these reasons in September, which accounted for a third of the total bookings.
The majority of travellers are European expatriates who have not seen their families for the past 18 months. While many of them used the Singapore-Germany VTL for business needs, several travellers also took the opportunity to either meet with family or add a few days of leisure into the trip.
To stimulate demand and activity for these newly opened routes, airlines with VTL flights have reduced the fares of economy seats by an average of 60% post-VTL announcement. Prices of business class tickets have increased by 15% as airlines attempt to regain revenue from businesses and individual corporate travellers who are less price sensitive.
“It would be natural to assume that prices across all cabins would rise due to pent-up demand, especially with limited availability on selected flights to a single destination – in this case, Germany. However, as FCTG and FCM have seen in other countries where travel has resumed, traveller confidence takes time to rebuild,” said Parris on the sharp reduction in the cost of travel for economy fares.
“FCM has seen a very good start to the second half of 2021 globally. Many western countries have already stopped using lockdowns, and we saw our European and Americas markets pick up significantly through their international and domestic corporate travel markets, respectively. In Singapore, the VTLs were introduced as part of the goal towards an endemic endgame and the encouraging uplift in bookings and travel since its introduction is driving a lot of confidence in Asia for the months ahead,” added Parris.