A third of corporate travel managers across Northern Europe
believe their business travel programmes will recover from the coronavirus
shut-down within six months, driven primarily by domestic travel, according to
research by hospitality firm Accor.
In a recent survey of 122 corporate customers with
operations across Northern Europe that took place between 27 April and 5 May,
just 7 per cent of respondents said they think it will take longer than 12
months for their programmes to get back on track. A surprising 21 per cent
predict it will take less than three months.
When it comes to future bookings, only 15 per cent of those
surveyed are planning to change the categories of hotels in their programmes.
Despite the virus situation, Accor’s research found the most important criteria
for selecting their preferred hotel suppliers remains location (38 per cent)
followed by price (25 per cent). However, more than a fifth (22 per cent)
ranked additional sanitary measures and Covid-19 protection as their top
priority, while one in eight corporates explicitly said traveller welfare will
be their number one priority when selecting a preferred supplier in the future.
Almost a quarter of respondents (23 per cent) said they have
no request for proposal planned for 2021 and would seek to extend 2020 rates
complemented by dynamic pricing to achieve the best value, according to Accor.
A further 11 per cent plan to only review their top destinations via an RFP and
extend most of their current rates into 2021. In addition, 21 per cent are
expecting to run a full RFP as previously planned.
The vast majority (89 per cent) of travel managers said
their organisation will need to have an increased focus on duty of care as a
result of the pandemic, with 66 per cent saying it will lead to stricter
approvals processes for signing off travel requests.
Jonathan Pettifer, director of corporate sales and TMC
partners at Accor UK and Ireland, commented: “The hotel industry will be
gratified to hear that corporates believe their business travel programmes will
recover within 12 months, with many anticipating it will happen much quicker.
Face-to-face interactions with clients and business partners are vital in many
industries and we know there is significant pent-up demand from corporates
wanting to get their executives back engaging directly with key contacts. To
support this process, it is vital the hospitality industry follows through on
its commitment to safeguard traveller safety.”
Accor said all of its hotels in the UK and Ireland have
committed to the company’s new ALLSAFE cleanliness and infection prevention