Tourism accounts for 9% of South Africa’s GDP and contributes over R2 trillion to the African continent’s economy. As one of the most mature digital commerce sectors, the Travel and Tourism industry is at the sharp edge of global technology and economic shifts. The fact that travel ground to a halt globally because of COVID-19 has irrevocably highlighted this.
In times where economies and profit margins are declining, tourism service providers are again forced to develop better strategies to remain relevant. An example of this adaptability is the development of digital solutions such as global Health Passports and certificates to support the current travel trends.
In this context, Facilities Management (FM) has the most significant potential to enhance the tourism industry and the end-user experience.
Future-fit your business travel
How a business should plan its return to travel is unique to each organisation. What is vital is to keep in mind changed consumer behaviour and strategically embrace an integrated approach to facilities management for improved efficiencies and cost savings.
An effective FM approach will highlight areas that may need automation, smart technology, artificial intelligence, or outsourcing. Not only does this free up the workforce to focus on their core function within the business ecosystem, but it also brings about efficiencies and resultant operational cost savings on electricity, water, and overall environmental management. In addition, these enhancements can contribute to the growth of the sector as these provide more value from an end-user experience perspective.
Within BCD Travel, this approach has led to the development of our COVID-19 Information Hub, which received a Bronze Stevie Award (category: “COVID-19 Response Awards – Most Valuable Service”) for providing travellers with guidance and reassurance at such a critical time.
The biggest benefits
You need to consider what type of solution you need, the benefits of implementing new systems and technologies and how they integrate into the overall travel program and organisational goals. The four most considerable benefits of an integrated approach include:
- Cost-saving: reducing travel costs by reducing travel (think virtual meetings), automating processes such as pre-trip approval or adopting an Online Booking Tool.
- Sustainability: reducing your CO2 emissions and impact on the environment by using the most carbon-efficient air travel routes, aircraft types, car rental and hotel property options.
- Traveller Satisfaction: your duty of care process may require additional pre-trip approval to limit travel to high-risk destinations or even the implementation of a traveller tracking system to help your travellers feel safe.
- Productivity: by removing the time spent booking travel, and guiding purchasing decisions, your employees can focus more on doing their core job, making them more productive.
Whatever your goals may be, it is crucial to have these defined before building your new program. As a starting point, business continuity, traveller health and safety, and duty of care should be significant drivers of your strategy. Our experts are available to help you identify gaps or areas of improvement and provide guidance with shifting program goals.