DOES THE BUSINESS TRAVEL INDUSTRY NEED TO RE-INVENT THEMSELVES TO COME OUT OF THIS CRISIS?
This was a question which was on our minds, like so many other industry colleagues.
How can an industry, that thinks they depend on getting people to travel, re-invent themselves? Could they potentially change from a polluting industry to a sustainable one; from a business model based on fees to a business model based on added value; from a closed industry working in silos, to an open, collaborative industry; and from an industry with no standards to one where standards are being introduced, like ISO 31030?
We @MASSL believe in investing in today’s youth and in supporting them to learn about our industry, we asked three BUas students of the minor Aviation and Business Travel to help us find the answers. And in doing so think about traveller safety and well-being, Duty of Care, pro-active versus reactive, sustainability, adding value, strategic partnerships, and cross industry collaboration.
This was not an easy task they set out to do! In weekly calls we did a lot of brainstorming with them, to support them doing their research and writing their final report. It was an interesting process for us @MASSL as well as it became clear that there was not one simple answer, and that our work is definitely cut out for us.
WHAT DID WE LEARN?
Here are some of the key elements.
The recovery of the business travel industry will take a while due to several issues. The pandemic has shown that business can continue through online meetings. It is also a good cost-saving opportunity for companies as it is far less time consuming and saves a lot of travel. Therefore, it is reasonable to expect that in the future many companies will take the necessity of a trip into consideration. However, companies will also take relationships into consideration, when it comes to deciding if the business trip is required.
In addition, it is certainly possible to change from a polluting industry to a sustainable one, but it is time to act now. In the future, there needs to be more transparency and openness between different stakeholders. For this to be successful, more education is needed to make people (both corporates and suppliers) aware of the current state of our industry and the
changes that need to be made, but also how important changes are around sustainability and technology.
“There needs to be more transparency in the business travel industry”
Furthermore, from the research it can be concluded that the industry is able to change from a business model based on fees to a model based on added value. And from a closed industry to an open, collaborative one. “There needs to be more transparency in the business travel industry”, according to the industry experts that have been interviewed. And also, the industry needs to communicate better and be more transparent. In summary as stated: “It is possible to change to an added valued business model because there is a demand for it, but all that needs to happen is more transparency, communication and a pro-active attitude to get to the desired result”.
can be applied in different ways within an organization. However, changes are needed to implement sustainability properly. Think of a travel policy, digital storage of documents and making business travellers aware of their behaviour. Partly due to the current pandemic, more and more companies and (business) travellers are starting to realize the importance of sustainability.
Throughout the research it was mentioned that for the industry to change from a polluting one to a sustainable one all stakeholders should be educated and made aware of sustainability - what it is about and what options are available. It was also mentioned that it should not only be one stakeholder’s responsibility but should really be all stakeholders in the industry’s responsibility.
To be more sustainable in the future there should be clear and transparent requirements/standards from across the industry that should be met. For this to happen new policies or an adaptation of current policies that focus on duty of care and reducing footprint will need to come into force.
is the start of a major change in the industry. This standard is a big step for the industry and provides much more clarity in the field of Duty of Care and risk management. Business travellers should not be seen as numbers, but as people. In the future, the ISO 31030 certificate will play an important role. Stakeholders in the industry can prove that they deal with people in a good way and offer a good service. Due to the pandemic and the current war in Ukraine, more than ever people have come to realize how important Duty of Care and risk management are. Many business travellers and companies are not aware of the consequences of a business trip; it is therefore a wise step to implement a clear policy.
Stakeholders in a company should thoroughly examine their duty of care program and recommend that it should include: creating robust travel risk management plans and specific emergency action plans, identifying and assigning employees responsible for fulfilling the organization’s duty of care, assessing and monitoring the organization’s travel risk profile, creating a system to inform, track and communicate with travellers, retaining resources to provide medical, security, crisis, evacuation and other critical response services, educating employees and travel service providers and tracking and assessing incidents.
Adaption of new travel policies and regulations will assist with the recovery, specifically the new ISO 31030 standard. This new standard covers travel risk management. ISO 31030 will help travel and travel risk managers develop a streamlined, integrated, and effective process to ensure the safety of their travellers.
“changes are needed to implement sustainability properly”
SOME FINAL THOUGHTS AND RECOMMENDATIONS WE WOULD LIKE TO SHARE.
The industry is changing, and everyone is forced to adapt to it. To be proactive with regards to the recovery of the business travel industry there must be consistency and transparency in regulations. The adaptation and implementation of new standards will become a necessity. And above all; the industry must become a collaborative one.
Our special thanks to Maud, Michelle, and Carla from the Breda University of applied sciences for their hard work and dedication to help create this report!
The MASSL team is already focussing on sustainability in business travel and the ISO31030 standard for a longer period, enabling us to further assist and guide our clients to a framework that fits their specific needs and ambitions. Do not hesitate to contact us if you would like to find out how we can support you and your organization on these challenging subjects.
Author: Stephanie Smook