More business travellers are expected to shift their flying preferences to budget airlines in the coming year, but that does not mean they will be less concerned about safety and security.
David Moran, executive vice president of Carlson Wagonlit Trave
In its latest study on Travel Trends, Program Priorities: A Traveler-Centric 2016, found that budget airlines have taken over 60 per cent of capacity share in several domestic markets, such as India, Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand.
For business travel, the share of capacity of budget airlines has increased to 12 per cent overall but that figure varies widely between countries, ranging from only a few per cent in Australia and Japan to the bulk of air bookings in Thailand and India. Moran said: “2016 will be the year of the business traveller.”
CWT is a global leader specialising in managing business travel, and meetings and events. The group helps clients derive the greatest value from their travel programme in terms of savings, service, security and sustainability.
The study also concluded that tomorrow’s travellers would be concerned about safety and security as the highest priority for corporate travel in the year to come.
Moran said 80 per cent of the travel managers surveyed worldwide expected budget airlines to have a high or very high impact on their travel programmes. In Asia Pacific, safety and security is also the top priority for next year, as ranked by 75 per cent of those surveyed expecting it to have a high or very high impact.
Meanwhile, 63 per cent of travel managers expect mobile and wearable technology to have a big impact on their travel programme in the coming year. And travel managers are looking for more data on traveller behaviour and programme performance. The study suggested that companies needed to embrace new technologies and ways of working to improve satisfaction for their employee travellers.
In order to meet the needs of tomorrow’s traveller, key tourism organisations such as the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), Thailand Convention & Exhibition Bureau (TCEB) and Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) will organise Digital Innovation Asia and Digi.travel Thailand International Conference & Expo in Bangkok early in the new year.
Digital Innovation Asia Awards will be held in January and Digi.travel Thailand International Conference & Expo will be held in February.
Mario Hardy, chief executive officer of PATA, said the Thai tourism sector would continue to grow over the next three to five years. In the meantime, travellers’ concerns would change not only about safety issues but also connectivity. “When they stay here in Thailand they just need to keep connected with their friends. Free Wifi is very important,” he added.