Almost two-thirds (63%) of travel managers in a survey conducted by Amadeus believe overall business travel volumes will remain lower than pre-pandemic due to the increased complexity of travel and concerns around environmental sustainability. More than three-quarters of respondents (77%) believe videoconferencing will replace in-person internal meetings, but only 22% see it replacing customer meetings, even fewer for consulting and events. Published as part of a Rebuilding Business Travel report, the survey showed that travel management companies (TMCs) are actively reinventing their models, with several opportunities resulting from the pandemic. Among the other results:
• 49% see a shift to “managed travel” for almost every business trip, driven by the increased risk and complexity of pandemic travel. This suggests midmarket and small and medium-sized business travel organized with technology offers a growing opportunity for the sector; for example, one TMC reported 75% of its recent customer sign-ups had not previously used a TMC.

• Duty of care is now identified as the No. 1 business travel requirement for clients, with 65% citing an increased focus on that factor among corporations. The need for companies to reduce risk is expected to help TMCs facilitate more than air travel, with rail, hotel and car bookings now increasingly handled by TMC partners.

• Despite weighing on travel volumes, sustainability concerns are driving new lines of business for TMCs, with firms increasingly viewed as consultants that can help corporate customers to plan travel sustainably. With significant demand for rich data on sustainability, TMCs are increasingly relied upon to meet this need.