While the future’s looking brighter now when it comes to the economy, with words like ‘recovery’ and ‘upturn’ being freely bandied around, for the travel management community it seems the full force of the downturn could have a much more lasting effect.
When it comes to travel, corporates appear to have taken one very lasting lesson from the pain of the recession, and that’s to try and save as much money as possible on their travel costs. While TMC bosses are optimistic about business levels going forward, they are also realistic about how much cash companies will be prepared to spend on their travel policies.
Outright travel bans imposed during the recession as companies fought to stave off bankruptcy may have thankfully been rescinded at last, but firms are still clamping down firmly on their travel spend, and as a result it seems that businesses are going budget.
Instead of champagne and cigars in the First Class lounge, today’s executives can expect to be stuck in cattle class with the other mere mortals, and – shock horror – are even favouring budget carriers in an attempt to save the pennies. You only have to look at the sheer number of airlines that have ditched their first and business class sections completely to see that demand is dwindling for the premium seats.
So with corporates cutting back so much and scrutinising every last dirham of their travel spend, what does this mean for TMCs?
Staying profitable in this new frugal travel environment will mean having to streamline your business too. But it should be seen as a golden opportunity.
At this year’s Business Travel Show corporate travel buyers will no doubt be queuing up to find out how travel can be made more efficient, more cost-effective, and what firms can do to essentially squeeze more miles out of their money.
There is plenty of business out there for the savvy TMC who can show their worth in the new age of budget travel, whether this means using online tools, specially negotiated rates or expense management systems. After all if corporates need to save cash on travel, who better to turn to than a TMC?
Monika Grzesik, is the editor of Arabian Travel News.For all the latest travel news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.
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