ASATA: What will business travel cost you in 2020?


Business travel is increasingly about the experience, wellbeing and comfort of travellers. But pricing, such as free benefits like priority boarding and early hotel check-in, as well as savings, are still the most critical part of a company travel policy.

Based on a recent survey by the Flight Centre Travel Group’s FCM Travel Solutions, a member of ASATA, cost savings is the top value-add sought by travel buyers in South Africa.

The study, conducted with the African Business Travel Association, flagged late bookings and change fees due to bad planning as the two biggest ‘money wasters’.

It also touched on areas where travel buyers seek value from a travel management company partnership, including support, technology and data collection and interpretation, all of which impacts the traveller experience. Just 67% of buyers participating in the survey rated Duty of Care ‘very important’.

Given the current economic climate, it’s not surprising that there is more emphasis on travel costs.

Making company cost-saving goals easier, the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) expects a general slowdown in flight, hotel accommodation and car rental rate increases in 2020.

GBTA’s Global Travel Price Forecast with the CWT Solutions Group shows rate increases for hotel (+2.5%), ground transport (+0.5%) and air (+2.2%) in the Middle East and Africa will be influenced by economic conditions, supply and demand.

And there’s more good news for small businesses, which analysts see benefitting from more targeted products and services.

According to a 2019 travel trends report by Skift, suppliers are enticing business with rewards; freebies such as hotel breakfast, parking and wi-fi; and favourable pricing from airlines and hotels usually reserved for larger corporations and customers with the requisite booking volumes.

The challenge, the report says, is to convince these companies to consider managed solutions in the first place, yet there is plenty of data showing serious returns for every rand spent on company travel.

Business owners and travel buyers can use these yearly forecasts to set their 2020 travel goals, to sharpen their travel management RFPs and limit wastage.

Now is the time to invest in a proper travel management programme that supports employees and company growth objectives.