SMEs are the backbone of Australia’s economy and Corporate Traveller General Manager Tom Walley has observed that they have become more resilient and adaptable to snap restrictions. As lockdowns and restrictions continue, Tom has seen some surprising segments of the travel market emerge.
The rise of intrastate travel
The most surprising business travel trend that Tom has observed amid border closures is the rise in intrastate business travel. Corporate Traveller booking data also shows a significant spike in several intrastate flight bookings in the current lockdown as well as previous lockdowns.
Tom explains, “Popular intrastate routes are Brisbane-Townsville, Brisbane-Mackay, Perth-Port Hedland and Perth-Karratha. We will likely see a continued shift towards such travel routes as lockdowns continue.”
Industries travelling during lockdowns
Tom also observed that, while lockdowns had impacted several industries that normally travel frequently, other surprising industries are now travelling more.
Several industries have been hit hard by restrictions. Corporate Traveller has seen an increase in travel postponements in the pharmaceutical, agriculture, retail, insurance and medical industries.”
Tom says, “During lockdowns essential industries have replaced those that normally travel, including mining, medical, consultancy, manufacturing, construction, and engineering. These essential industries have opened up promising pockets of travel to help keep the business travel market operating.”
How TMCs are helping build SME resilience to restrictions and lockdowns
A TMC such as Corporate Traveller can buffer the financial impact of travel restrictions on both the business market and travel industry.
TMCs can act as a support system during uncertain and travelling periods. They also provide much-needed travel advice and help essential business travel continue. TMCs like Corporate Traveller provide up-to-the-minute advice around border rules and infection controls.
A TMC can also provide credit for postponed travel. Corporate Traveller has ensured businesses avoided financial losses through their change in travel plans and the industry retains the revenue needed to keep operating. These credits can then be applied to future flights, so postponed travel doesn’t come at a cost to the business or industry and guarantees a spike in travel post-lockdown.
Corporate Traveller has also added several businesses to its customer base, supporting them through the period, including companies in the consulting, education, and hotel sectors.
Tom explains, “While border closures are impacting SMEs, the desire for business travel still remains strong. Border closures can impact sales, particularly where face-to-face meetings are needed for success. While some SMEs will be impacted during this time, others can take advantage of intrastate opportunities that have opened during lockdown.”
Tom believes SMEs can expect a healthy return of the business function of their business once lockdowns end and restrictions ease.