Travel Leaders Corporate has launched an updated version of its portal for travel managers and travelers that offers new integrations, simplified search capabilities and sustainability data access.
The travel solutions company’s portal, Home, has been a customizable portal for customers with widgets for such tasks as online booking and expense management. Home Plus, the new version that was launched this week during the Global Business Travel Association convention, offers a single source for trip approvals, health and safety information, passport and visa notification, traveler tracking, unused ticket management and profile management with integrated online booking, according to Travel Leaders.
“You don’t have to go elsewhere,” Travel Leaders Corporate president Mike Boult said. “The profile is read, updated with safety and visa information, and all travel is captured and monitored, so they can receive alerts on delays, cancellations and disruptions.”
The tool also features a natural language search function to retrieve and analyze program data. For example, a user can type, “How many Hilton hotels are my travelers staying at?” or “How many of my travelers are flying on American today?” to retrieve the respective results, Boult said.
Additionally, Home Plus features carbon emission tracking capabilities by traveler, time period and organization. Thrust Carbon helps provide the data for the program, Boult said.
As the tool launched, Travel Leaders noted it is seeing significant growth in its meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions business, with current demand up 15 percent compared with the first quarter of this year. The company expects events will return to full attendance in 2023, with additional growth of 35 percent over 2022 levels.
During the pandemic, Travel Leaders Corporate employed a strategy of working with travel suppliers and other entities in need of talent and offering its own employees for temporary help to fill their customer service needs. For example, some Travel Leaders advisors worked with the state of New York in scheduling Covid-19 testing and others to help two large suppliers in their contact centers. As travel volumes have recovered, that strategy has given the company an advantage, Boult said.
“We could recover fast and recall everybody, and we didn’t have to go out and chase people,” Boult said. “Where everyone else is really struggling for talent, we haven’t struggled for talent.”
As 2022 quickly comes into focus, buyers are turning their attention to what the new year has in store for corporate travel. Clearly, business travel demand continues to strengthen, and we anticipate this recovery trend to continue, albeit with uncertainty around Omicron’s impact and undoubted future pandemic surprises. Getting business travelers back on the road is critical for both company health and economic prosperity.
Our leadership team recently gathered to provide their insights into 2022 as it relates to traveler behavior, corporate compliance and global market conditions . . .
• TMCs and Travel Suppliers will experience more consolidation as business travel demand continues to recover. Many of the vulnerable players, those with weaker balance sheets and limited availability to new funding, will fall prey to stronger players or potentially exit the marketplace entirely.
• Airlines and Hoteliers seek to increase prices due to wage inflation and limited supply in many markets. Inflation caused by ongoing labor shortages will pressure margins and result in higher prices. All suppliers will seek to recapture lost market share, revenue and profit as they look to a full recovery in 2023.
• With real estate prices at record levels, there will be a temptation for some hotel owners to convert their properties to condominiums. With leisure travel returning at a faster pace, airlines are focusing their assets toward ‘fun and sun’ markets. Travelers will continue to experience reduced schedules between predominantly business routes.
• Despite recent court rulings, corporations will move toward employeevaccine mandates in order to return employees to physical offices. This is a critical step to facilitate travelers being willing and able to visit prospects and partners to enhance commercial activity.
• Traveling amid a constantly changing environment will continue tochallenge even the most experienced road warriors. Travelers will placea premium on the expertise of seasoned travel consultants to help themplan, execute and navigate through each business trip. This is especiallytrue for international travel, where regulations evolve on an almost dynamic basis. VIP level servicing will have increased usage amongst senior level travelers.
• We anticipate stricter vaccine requirements for non-remote workers, business travelers and office/facility visitors as well as safety protocols for all employees attending physical meetings and events.
• Companies will continue to closely manage costs and ensure margins are met. Travel requests and policy compliance will face increased scrutiny. Whereas historically, travelers were permitted to book travel outside of the organization’s preferred vendors, this flexibility will be eliminated to ensure maximum spend visibility and heightened employee duty of care.
• Sustainability and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion focus will be key drivers in travel policy/supplier selection and organizations must be prepared to measure their impact on society and the environment.
• Corporations are showing an eagerness to return to live events/hybrid events in 2022.
• More than three quarters of event planners state that they will hold their next face-to face event in late Q1 of 2022.
• Planners still strongly consider face-to-face meetings as vital. Many event sponsors say that their companies value in-person meetings more than before the pandemic.
• Many companies are moving to smaller regional events (less than 200 attendees).
• Planners have found a lack of availability of large meeting venues in Q1 and Q2 of 2022, as many 1st tier cities are already booked.
• The uneven rates of Covid cases across the regions will continue to cause uncertainty with ongoing border closures, airline market changes and potential lockdowns. This ongoing disruption will limit international travel recovery throughout 2022.
• As we enter a third year of pandemic disruption, companies have begun to adapt and normalize their commercial activities through virtual meetings and the use of local staff and partners. While international business travel will return, it is possible that some level of activity will be permanently eliminated.