Jean-Francois De Mol, Senior Director Sales EMEA at BCD Travel, talked to Belgian business magazine CCI Mag about current business travel trends. Read an excerpt from their conversation.
London: Less business travel due to Brexit?
The number of Belgian business travelers buying a flight ticket to London diminished by 25% from 2017 to 2018, according to BCD Travel’s Cities & Trends Report.
“Mid 2018, the popular and fast link between Antwerp and London was stopped, which has led many travelers to take the train to London,” explained Jean-Francois de Mol in his Q & A with CCI Mag. “With the creation of Air Antwerp, a new non-stop connection to London was established recently. This might increase the number of passengers from Belgium to the British capital again. In the next couple of weeks, we will probably also get a better idea of the impact of Brexit. It’s therefore difficult to consider the two scenarios separately, but there is a good chance that London will move back into the top 3 Belgian business travel destinations.”
Business trips with low-cost carriers
Low-cost carriers (LCC) have become an essential option for travel managers and business travelers. “At BCD Travel, LCCs are currently making up for 10% of the tickets issued compared to 1% five years ago. We focus on offering the best solution to our customers. In some cases, it’s an interesting alternative to choose an LCC from Brussels-Charleroi airport to reach certain destinations directly or to achieve substantial savings,” says Jean-François De Mol.
New technologies will change travel management
Like many other sectors, business travel is also impacted by emerging technologies. In a recent study, BCD Travel specifically focuses on six areas of business travel that will be affected by emerging technologies:
- Sourcing: identification and selection of suppliers, specification of products and services, pricing, contracts and payment are some examples of travel buyers’ tasks that new technologies are revolutionizing.
- Duty of care: geolocation makes it easier to locate travelers and send them messages during a crisis.
- Communication: the use of machine learning and blockchain (data storage) helps to communicate with the travelers while considering their travel habits. Chatbots, virtual reality, geolocation and the Internet of Things improve travelerss experiences.
- Travel policy: new technologies offer new ways to make travelers stick to the travel policy.
- Payment and expense: new payment and expense technologies could one day allow travelers to travel without cash and to be free of filling expense reports.
- Performance management: more detailed statistics can improve travel policies and influence commercial policies and business management.
Improving the ecological impact of business trips
Many companies are concerned about the ecological impact of their business trips and want to be able to quantify the carbon footprint of their trips. BCD Travel offers related statistics in its reporting and analytics platform DecisionSource. Some airlines are replacing large aircraft with smaller, less polluting, aircrafts that also offer more flexibility.
Traveling by train may, for some destinations, compete with aviation, but if it’s more expensive or takes much longer, customers continue to opt for air travel despite the higher CO2 emission.