Interim executive at Global Business Travel Association
- Projections for business travel recovery and market segmentation
- Impact on airlines’ revenues, profitability and pricing strategies
- Corporate travel visibility and implications for related businesses
- Geographic factors, technology adoption and travel frequency
Could you start by breaking down the pandemic’s impact on business travel for the airlines?
What was the pre-pandemic outlook for business travel? Was it expected to grow faster? Had it matured?
How severely has the pandemic impacted the other parts of the travel ecosystem, beyond the airlines? You mentioned hotels, rental cars. How far down is that?
How does business travel break down across segments such as internal meetings, conferences or international business? Can you quantify the relative importance of external and internal company travel?
What proportion of business travel do you think will be permanently lost? We’ve read numbers as high as 50%, if you believe Bill Gates, but what’s your projection, and how did you arrive at the figure?
Recovery has been slow, and it’s all unprecedented, but what red flags would make you concerned that business travel won’t fully recover? Are there signs you’d be looking for, or is it too soon to get a sense of it?
Delta’s CEO said in the Q4 2020 earnings call that 40% of the company’s big corporate customers expect they will be fully back to 2019 levels by 2022. Does that assessment make sense to you?
Was technology noticeably impacting business travel prior to the pandemic-driven growth in adoption? Was the 4-5% pre-coronavirus growth rate for business travel being curtailed by technologies such as Zoom?
How immediate will the response to vaccines be for business travel? Do you expect a lag, or for people to get their vaccines and start travelling?
What are corporate travel departments demanding from airlines, currently? Are they driving for discounts, for extra services or guarantees?
Do you think there is any risk of business seat shortages or pricing spikes as capacity has been taken out, routes have been dropped and travel wants to come back? When and where would you expect that, if so?
You referenced leisure travel to some of the sunnier destinations experiencing pick-ups. Is there a business travel geography where you would expect demand to pick up first?
Do you expect any shifts in how business travel seats are booked across GDS [global distribution system], direct or offline?
Could you elaborate on the technology that’s coming out that will help the unmanaged business?
What are the likely impacts of introducing these new technologies? Would you expect downward pressure on fee arrangements?
Do business travellers consider carriers’ financial health? If one of these players filed for bankruptcy, do you think business travellers would move to another airline or do loyalty and history trump that?
Are any airlines making themselves more or less attractive to business travellers? I’m thinking of JetBlue Mint or Southwest targeting business customers a bit more. How do you think new entrants will fare?
When Forum holds Interviews with industry experts such as yourself, they tend to have a positive outlook on prospects. Some specialists in the private jet world think this downturn is an opportunity for their businesses to gain a greater share of the business traveller [see Atlantic Aviation – Potential Sale – 9 February 2021 and Private Aviation Market – Outlook & Q1 2021 Update – 11 February 2021]. What are your expectations for that market catering to the business customer?
What are your thoughts on the topic of ESG for airlines? Oil companies have shareholders who have demanded more investments in alternative energies, and have seen United Airlines’ 2050 target for carbon neutrality. Do you think this will have a negative impact on the industry? How do you evaluate carbon footprints or the specific goals that these companies are putting out?
What signposts will you be tracking in 2021 to test the strength of this recovery? We can all look at the TSA data every day, but what else will you be monitoring?
How would you address our investor clients asking how the business travel recovery unfolds and over what time frame?
Gain access to Premium Content
Submit your details to access up to 5 Forum Transcripts or to request a complimentary one week trial.
The information, material and content contained in this transcript (“Content”) is for information purposes only and does not constitute advice of any type or a trade recommendation and should not form the basis of any investment decision.This transcript has been edited by Third Bridge for ease of reading. Third Bridge Group Limited and its affiliates (together “Third Bridge”) make no representation and accept no liability for the Contentor for any errors, omissions or inaccuracies in respect of it. The views of the specialist expressed in the Content are those of the specialist and they are not endorsed by, nor do they represent the opinion of, Third Bridge. Third Bridge reserves all copyright, intellectual and other property rights in the Content. Any modification, reformatting, copying, displaying, distributing, transmitting, publishing, licensing, creating derivative works from, transferring or selling any Content is strictly prohibited