Strategic Meetings Summit London, 26 September,
September 29 2022, Kimpton Fitzroy London
Friday 30 September 2022, JW Marriott Grosvenor
The immediate future of business travel has never been so difficult to predict, Andrew Waller, Carlson Wagonlit’s executive VP UK and Ireland, has said.
Speaking at CWT’s annual Client Exchange in London, he said the ongoing economic and political uncertainty is “strangling growth” and “eroding confidence”.
Addressing the audience of travel buyers, Waller said today’s landscape differed from the meltdown of 2008.
When Lehman Brothers collapsed it was “easy to see” what the likely effect would be, he said, but the constant drip of uncertainty around today means it is more difficult to look around the corner.
“Business is good,” he surmised, “but uncertain” and “very fragile”, and the future is “incredibly difficult to predict”.
He added: “Despite the challenging times, the industry is in better shape than it was last year.”
Some areas of business travel show strong signs of continued growth, however, said Waller, adding that over the past year CWT has won £70 million in new clients.
The meetings and events division, a major focus for CWT over the past year, has seen business double, he said, while hotel occupancies are improving and airline yields are up.
Premium economy flight bookings are generating “good returns”, he added.