The past year has been a whirlwind of change. As a result, most people - and companies - are relying on steadfast consistency in their return to 'normal'. However, counterintuitive as it may sound, change might just be the more successful option.
When it comes to business travel particularly, times are still tough. Budgets are tight. And let’s face it, even though the world is opening to South African travellers, corporate travel volumes are still down. However, instead of returning to the old status quo, now is the perfect time to reset and reimagine business travel for your company.
Companies that are contemplating a return to travel are faced with several new challenges. Travel sentiment has changed and some of the company’s former 'road warriors' might feel reluctant to get back to travelling.
Priorities have also changed as compared to two years ago. Companies are now focussed on the introduction of new hybrid meeting models, re-evaluating the necessity and benefits of business travel, as well as setting ambitious sustainability goals that will see them achieving carbon-zero by as early as 2030.
In this new travel landscape, we can expect companies to adopt the following criteria when it comes to their choice of a travel partner:
1. A renewed focus on return on investment (ROI)
More than ever before, the travel industry is focused on transactions with the emphasis on shaving a few rands off the cost of the flight, hotel or transfers without seeing the bigger picture. It’s important to partner with a travel provider who is able to look beyond the transaction, at the bigger picture.
2. Future-proofing business models
As businesses have decided to change their business models during the pandemic, so have TMCs. Some small and medium-size TMCs have merged with larger players to give themselves more purchasing power in the industry, while larger travel companies are also considering mergers to reduce costs, increase sales and revenue. Amid all these changes, it is imperative you work with a supplier that has the same vision and idea of how to future-proof a business.
3. Tech that works for your company
It is great to have the latest technology at your fingertips, but more important is to consider whether the available technology 'works' for your company. You need a technology platform that addresses and solves your pain points from traveller safety to sustainability and 24/7 travel assistance.
4. Aligning priorities and values
In crisis situations like the Covid pandemic, requirements such as duty of care, approval processes or lack of data may be driving the need for a more targeted solution. Your travel partner should be in tune with your priorities and values and be able to offer tangible solutions from safety dashboards, traveller tracking tools to carbon calculators and streamlined approval processes.
5. Towards a greener future
Most businesses today really want to reduce the impact they’re having on the planet. Business travel is a great place to start if you want to reduce your carbon footprint. After all, it typical represents about 50% of an organisation’s greenhouse gas emissions. It’s important to ensure your TMC is aligned with your goals and can help you book the most environmentally friendly as well as cost-effective travel.
Now is a good time to assess what you expect from your TMC. On the surface, all TMCs do the same thing. They all help support and manage travel programmes. But how they do this, is substantially different between TMCs. While you evaluate the future of travel within your organisation, it has become more important than ever that your chosen TMC understands the needs of your business and is on the same trajectory to success that you are.