Small to medium businesses make a significant contribution to Australia’s economy. Given this, SMEs will also be responsible for driving the post-lockdown recovery of multiple sectors, including travel.
In fact, Corporate Traveller Australia analysed half a million bookings across more than 2000 companies to forecast which industries and routes will drive the business travel market recovery. This booking sample was extracted between 1 February and 20 June 2021, a period where travel enjoyed near pre-pandemic levels.
Top industries that will provide a bounceback
Corporate Traveller data shows the top five industries performing best during the current conditions: medical, mining, construction, engineering, and manufacturing. Mining and healthcare, as essential industries, have continued travelling strongly throughout the pandemic, especially intrastate travel.
In contrast, industries such as manufacturing, IT, Government, insurance and financial services have subdued their business travel the most. Corporate Traveller expects these industries to bounceback strongly once borders reopen and restrictions ease.
Medical and mining will be key to recovery
When restrictions ease, medical and mining companies are expected to grow their travel activity to February-June 2021 levels. Given their contribution to the country’s GDP, these industries will be important to Australia’s overall economic recovery.
Travel by the medical industry made up 11 per cent of all SME business travel earlier this year, with Melbourne to Sydney the industry’s most popular route. Mining accounted for 10 per cent of all SME travel, taking most trips between Perth and Kalgoorlie.
Within each company, there are often several people who fly for business, some regularly and some occasionally. Within the medical and mining industries, the volume of people who travel will contribute to the bounceback. Before the lockdowns, an average of 43 people per medical organisation and 38 people per mining company would travel for business.
Other industries that will contribute to a healthy travel bounceback
Construction and engineering businesses will also help drive the business travel bounceback, as these industries had high levels of travel before this year’s lockdowns.
Until late June, the construction industry accounted for nine per cent of SME business travel and engineering was responsible for six per cent. Both industries fly an average of 30 people per organisation, and travel to Brisbane was the most popular route for these sectors.
Corporate Traveller also expects the manufacturing industry to contribute strongly to the bounceback. This industry made up six per cent of business travel before this year’s lockdowns, with Melbourne-Sydney the most popular route.
Corporate Traveller predicts consultancies, technology companies, travel companies, and transport and finance companies to be responsible for a quarter of the business travel bounceback, based on the 23 per cent of all business travel bookings they collectively made before the current lockdowns.
From February to 20 June 2021, travel was at near-normal levels and fortunately essential industries that continue to travel during lockdown will also help drive a travel bounceback and economic recovery.
Most popular routes
Corporate Traveller also expects post-lockdown flights between Sydney and Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane, and Melbourne and Brisbane to make up the largest overall return – a combined 19 per cent.
In particular, Sydney and Melbourne will see the fastest and largest return, with this route making up nine per cent of SME travel earlier this year when the country was open.
Flights between Sydney and Brisbane will also return strongly, as they made up six per cent of business travel between February and 20 June. Flights between Melbourne and Brisbane made up four cent of business travel in the same time period.