TORONTO — More than 25% of Direct Travel’s corporate clients say they can see their domestic business trips resuming in the next two to three months, and over 65% say they plan to be traveling again within the year.
The numbers come from Direct Travel’s just-released survey, which polled the travel management company’s corporate clients in Canada.
“The business travel industry took a significant hit as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, but we are now beginning to see positive signs of that much-anticipated return,” said Brian Robertson, President, Canada West, Direct Travel. “Many clients are focused on post-coronavirus recovery.”
He called the survey stats “a very encouraging sign.”
The company notes that while many see business travel resuming before the end of this year, there are still uncertainties about what the new normal will look like for travel. A number of benchmarks need to be met before travellers are at ease travelling for work once again, with measures including guest health protocols, employee responsibilities, cleaning guidelines and social distancing requirements.
“One clear theme is the importance of post-COVID duty of care requirements and an increased focus on mandating travel policy compliance,” said Ian Race, Senior Vice President, Corporate Sales, Direct Travel.
Race adds that 60% of respondents indicated they will require a duty of care protocol and 84% plan to mandate travel policy compliance. “It is these safety and security concerns that will drive renewed interest in the travel program from corporate executive leadership, human resources and business travellers themselves.”
While the new normal is yet to be seen, business travel professionals and travel companies remain at the forefront of the future of business travel, says the company.
Added Robertson: “The resumption of travel means changing our collective approach to the travel experience. The COVID-19 crisis further emphasized the key reasons corporate clients rely on their travel management companies and I firmly believe that buyers need TMCs now more than ever.”
This week Travelweek caught up with Robertson and Race after they got back from flights to Calgary and beyond. Click here to hear about their experiences on the planes and at the airports, and their thoughts on travel’s new normal going forward.