Business travel is making a comeback: interview with Susanna Peretti from BTM

The pillars of business travel from BTSE 2021 in London

The pillars of business travel do not change and no one will take over the others for a long time to come. The three “Ss” of business travel in the post-pandemic world remain safety, sustainability e savingswhere costs and budget they are inexorably relegated to the third step. All will coexist in the careful evaluation that travel managers will have to carry out to authorize a mission or solve it with a meeting online.

It is neither a research nor a survey that summarizes the difficult prospect of resuming business trips that emerges from Business Travel Show Europe, which closed in London over the past weekend. This time it is simply the extreme summary of the debates we followed during the event, back in attendance at the Excel.

A subdued appointment, however, it was important to be there and the applause to the organizers can only be for having completed a schedule of debates never banal and with the participation of high profile speaker.

The appointment with the 2022 is already set for 29 and 30 Junealways to Excel.

Pillars of business travel: travel or Zoom?

As London taxis whiz by advertising the Zoom video conferencing platform, the question has arisen of the “Moving from travel management to interaction management: how do we control travel together with virtual meetings?”. Per Scott Gillespie, DG of Tclara, is a question of incisiveness. He observes: “It’s not business travel that creates value but meetings, so the first thing to do is make them successful. There profitability of meetingsthe well-being of those who travel and the environmental and economic sustainability of the mission must become a priority, above savings and the budget ».

Travel managers must, therefore, clearly distinguish high-value trips and redesign programs and spending on this premise. But beware, the pro is a super expert procurement e you total cost of travels. Let’s say that his vision is very orthodox. And basically it has to promote its application which measures the effectiveness of a business trip. Indeed, TClara is a tool which verifies the importance of a corporate mission.

Per Richard Eades, head of the travel, meetings and events division of BP (formerly British Petroleum, ed), success lies in the balance of decisions (whether to leave or resolve it with an appointment du Zoom). The manager manages a $ 300 million travel expense and argues: “If the three pillars do not change, as mentioned, it is important to understand that the evaluation of the trip must be done in real time and must also be sought with suppliers a balance for the tariffs services “.

Re-negotiating airfares yes, but how?

Speaking of re-negotiating tariffs, one panel focused precisely on “Reset airline agreements”.

Open to hosted buyers, which for BTSE means travel managers with a million pounds a year budget, the debate sought to prioritize corporate travel managers. The expert of the division of Mckinsey that deals with business travel, Prashanth Kuchibhotlahe clearly said that «we are in an impossible tariff forecast context in air transport “.

He argues: «Air carriers are fighting with the recovery from Covid19: I have to rebuild their networks, they have very short horizons of scheduling, and they are also adjusting products. Impossible to predict the prices: they could be very high or torn. Also because they are unable to answer the question whether the recovery will be 50 or 90% compared to 2019 ».

With all of these questions left open (routes, traffic volumes, available budget), travel managers can negotiate now or should they wait?

The suggested approaches

With twenty years of experience negotiating with airlines on behalf of companies from all sectors, the expert suggests three approaches.

The first: shift decisions al 2023, look at the 2022 data and come back to discuss it. Or negotiate now and secure short-term checks. Finally, “cut the bull’s head”, that is, make drastic changes to avoid less pain as you go.

In all this, travel managers should not forget the fundamentals of the trading structure:

  • The network and the routes flown, one by one;
  • Establish a percentage of fixed rates;
  • Define additional services such as fast track, lounge, pass

According to Mckinsey, the resumption of travel corporate will manifest itself with 4 traveler profiles, about which we wrote in Mission number 3 on pages 2-3-4. The feeling – not yet witnessed – is that business travel will never return to pre-pandemic modes. In the knowledge that most of the business trips were not productive.

Augmented reality technologies instead of trips to factories

Presented at the end of August, a Bloomberg poll, the New York media giant, said 84% of companies expect to spend less on business travel after the pandemic. The questions were asked to 45 American, European and Asian multinationals. Among the responses that the participants led to motivation there are also the technologies which allow staff to communicate with each other in real time like the augmented reality applied to optical viewers.

So did Akzo Nobel NV, the greatest paint manufacturer of Europe. Over the past year, the head of production has directed the staff of the 124 plants in this way.

If this were the case, what we said at the beginning about the transition from the management of trips to management of interactions between people. Much will depend on the evolution of vaccines, entry requirements into countries such as swabs, quarantines and Green Passes. In the panel “What’s the medical outlook for business travel?Adrian Hyzlerchief physician of Healix International, said that a way must be found to “sweeten” current practices since traveling under current conditions “is a real nightmare.”

Vaccines and travel: what Healix International says

Healix is ​​the British Government Travel Security Provider, an assignment for 25 thousand travelers until 2025.

The company has been winning this public contract for 10 years. Which involves health care for employees and their families on the go, 24 hours a day, in 190 countries. The service package includes remote psychological support and a pre-trip risk assessment on which the goodness of the supplier is outlined.

In fact, thefew returns from difficult areas is the deciding factor of the optimal process screening carried out by Healix, prior to the employee’s departure authorization.

Hyzler dice: «I government security levels they shouldn’t be the final resource for making travel decisions. The scoreboard is much more complex. For example, there are high levels of alert in countries where life seems to return to normal, public transport returns to 100% employment and sociability is apparently regular “.

Dr. Adrien Hyzler

The pandemic picture: the most affected business travel countries

For Dr. Hyzler, the pandemic picture is far from resolved, with 5 million dead and 250 million infected. Yet the reality is still different.

Known calculation models in the medical field say that the true number of deaths due to Covid-19 is now over 15 million, because many people die without having access to a test.

“However, the last week of September, WHO confirmed that new cases have dropped from 4 million to 3.6 million, a drop of 10%. The current “hotspots” are United States, India, Great Britain, Turkey and the Philippines. In the UK, infections remain high without a rapid deceleration or acceleration in the number of new cases. Compared to other G7 countries, the country has 441 cases per million in the past seven days compared to 417 in the US, 107 in the EU, 69 in Italy and only 39 in Japan “.

Nonetheless, hospitalizations go down and it is the parameter that allows us to hypothesize a sufficient management of the pandemic.

The next chapter is represented by booster of the third dose. Hyzler: “A controversial topic as much of the world has yet to complete a primary vaccination course.”

We currently know that a third dose or a booster of Pfizer vaccine in the over 60 who have passed more than five months since the last administration is ten times less likely to get infected and nearly 20 times less likely to get serious illness.

What happened on Day One of BTSE 2021 in London of which we were media partners?

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