Air travel shrank dramatically in the COVID-19 pandemic but there’s reason for optimism. Air travel will return – gradually and slowly – starting with domestic markets and followed by international markets.
Travel managers can take action now to prepare for the changing airline landscape, Advito’s Air Global Practice Director David Frangeul says. In a blog, he advises travel managers to:
- Assess risk level with preferred carriers
- Track current and future network changes for key airlines
- Take a gradual approach to reviving air programs
Decisionmakers should monitor preferred suppliers’ financial situations and include non-preferred suppliers in the assessment, Frangeul says. Grounding risks, cash availability and other factors can affect program coverage, average ticket price, and leverage with suppliers.
Track airline changes
Given an anticipated two- to three-year recovery cycle, carriers will restart their operations with a reduced network of flights and destinations. Frangeul advises using tools like Advito’s Air Fare Predictor to track changes in air service. The Air Fare Predictor uses predictive analysis to shop six months into the future. Its shopping behavior mimics the business traveler – searching by day of week and length of stay. By tracking current and future airline changes, travel managers can effectively adapt programs and potentially seek alternative suppliers, as needed.
Gradually rebuild air programs
As air travel resumes, Frangeul says travel managers should carefully and gradually align their programs with the changed industry landscape. Agility will be key as travel managers must negotiate with suppliers on an ongoing basis to protect top routes from volatile or uncompetitive pricing.
Check out the full blog here.