Business travel accounts for a significant portion of Australia’s travel sector and contributes to the local economy. Since the start of the pandemic, the SME sector has been greatly impacted and has experienced a significant decline in business travel.
The head of a global SME travel management company says SMEs will be a key driver in the country’s travel recovery and will play an important role in giving the economy a much-needed boost.
Tom Walley is General Manager at Corporate Traveller (corporatetraveller.com.au), Australia’s only dedicated SME travel management provider, which has helped more than 6,500 SMEs with their personalised travel needs through expert advice, dedicated travel managers, and innovative booking technology.
“Small businesses account for around 98 per cent of all Australian businesses and across our own corporate travel businesses, SMEs makes up 65 per cent of business travel,” Mr Walley said.
“SMEs are the backbone of the Australian economy and growth in both business sales and employee productivity bring direct benefits to the country’s bottom line.”
SME business travel also benefits the country’s business sector, as it enables face-to-face relationship building with stakeholders.
While many businesses have worked remotely since the start of the pandemic, Mr Walley believes in-person communication allows for better problem-solving, the ability to build a rapport and fosters company culture.
“While video conferencing has been an efficient means of communication during the pandemic, it’s ineffective in situations where collaboration is needed, particularly when making important business decisions,” he said.
“Face-to-face relationship building with customers helps drive sales, while in-person interaction with employees helps increase employee engagement, retention and improves productivity. People can also connect at an emotional level with stakeholders outside the ‘clinical’ aspect of doing business.”
Australia also has a large domestic travel market and SME business travel encourages spending – with total business travel spend in Australia estimated to be $25 billion per year. When businesses cannot travel, the economy is impacted.
In fact, Mr Walley explains the recent lockdowns have postponed many of his own customers’ business travel. If SMEs are confident to return to travel, Mr Walley predicts the country’s domestic travel will bounce back healthily within the next 12 months.
“Vaccinations, rapid COVID testing, traveller tracking and contact tracing, hotel hygiene, insurance offerings and Government policy will be key to restoring business confidence to return to travel and ultimately drive the recovery of the sector,” he said.
“For business travel to resume after lockdowns, SMEs will want live, accurate updates and information when travelling and I urge them to engage with a travel management service that has the technology, data and connections to provide real-time travel and infection-control updates.”About Corporate Traveller
Corporate Traveller is an award-winning business travel management and solutions provider for SMEs, operating in six global markets. Established in 1993 as Flight Centre Travel Group’s first corporate brand, Corporate Traveller has offered its personalised service, expert tailored advice, dedicated travel consultants, and advanced booking technology to more than 6500 Australian business customers. Offering an all-in-one innovative booking platform with the support of a personal travel consultant, Corporate Traveller makes travel simpler, faster, and easier for businesses. With a wide range of solutions available, Corporate Traveller can cater for simple requirements through to the most complex SME business travel management needs. For more information or to book a business consultation, visit https://corporatetraveller.com.au