We spend a lot of time these days talking about and advocating for the return of business travel. From boarding planes to get from Point A to B, to going back to hotel nights and ground transportation options. And we’re all considering the overall implications to the industry’s bottom-line.
But there’s another critical aspect of the conversation: the return of the people and recovery of the talent that make up the business travel industry.
For our industry and every other, it’s the people who power and empower its success and future. But also like many industries, business travel and the people working in it find themselves strained by the challenges of the current times. You don’t have to look far to see the impacts that COVID-19 has had on our collective industry work force.
In a recent Florida Atlantic University survey, more than one-third of respondents indicated they would be seeking employment outside the hospitality industry, with entry-level workers more likely than not to leave the industry or their organizations. And in the past weeks, we’ve seen and maybe even experienced firsthand, the challenges faced by travel suppliers such as airlines and car rental companies in getting their operations staffed and fully back on track. And more broadly, there’s evidence that many people, and especially women and working mothers, are deciding to leave the workforce entirely.
Several of the themes in our GBTA Convention in November address the importance of putting our industry people at the forefront – from the future of work, to diversity and inclusion, to wellness and balance, not only for our companies and our travelers, but for ourselves and each other.
And WINiT by GBTA is also focused on this industry need, as seen in yesterday’s announcement of its new Glass Breakers initiative and appointees in relevant areas including mentoring, workforce sustainability, return to the road and office, career development, education and allyship.
Continuing to attract, develop, retain and recognize the best talent and people in the business will be key to the recovery of business travel. And with all the changes the pandemic has brought, accomplishing it might call for new thinking and fresh approaches. We welcome you to get involved, share your thoughts and be a part of creating what’s next for business travel and the great people who are the power behind it.
News to Know
U.S. Working on Plan to Allow Vaccinated International Travelers Into the Country
As part of an effort to lift travel restrictions, the Biden administration is developing a plan that would require nearly all foreign visitors to the U.S. to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. This comes after mounting pressure, including from European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, who last week called for the U.S. to lift the travel ban for EU citizens to enter the country following the U.K.’s decision to allow vaccinated Americans to enter the country as of August 2.
Hotel Numbers Showing a COVID Rebound
During its earnings call last week, Marriott International experienced a “widespread rebound” in business travel bookings in Q2 of 2021, with June special corporate bookings up 23% from May. On their quarterly earnings call, Hilton Worldwide announced they “saw improving results in small and medium-sized businesses and positive momentum across larger accounts” with business transient room night demand at 70 percent of 2019 levels.
Europe: Travel Industry Beginning to See Positive Effects of Borders Reopening
German rail operator Deutsche Bahn reported that its passenger numbers in Q2 of 2021 were about 50% higher than in the same quarter of 2020. And now that vaccinated U.S. travelers are allowed to enter England, British Airways is expecting an uptick in travel and has reopened its flagship U.S. lounge at JFK International Airport following a 16-month closure due to COVID.
Airlines Opening More Routes in LATAM
In a sign of recovery, LATAM Airlines will reopen 11 domestic routes in Brazil, Chile, Colombia and Peru this upcoming January. With the recovered routes, the airline reaches 770 daily flights (national and international), connecting 112 destinations in 16 countries. Spanish airline Plus Ultra Lineas Aereas announced last week it will restart flights between Spain and Peru as of April 2022.
GBTA News & Reminders
Tomorrow: WINiT at Work + at Home Webinar
The pandemic has hit women professionals especially hard but working moms can still thrive and achieve their goals. Tomorrow at 11:30 a.m. ET, join two industry powerhouses – Patti Huska, Chief People Officer for Amex GBT and Mary Ellen Hess, Executive Vice President of Business Development for CTM – as they share their advice and wisdom on how a working mom can successfully take on senior roles. Register here.
GBTA LATAM Town Hall on Aug. 26
Mark your calendar to attend and hear from the GBTA LATAM Advisory Board about the plans for GBTA in Latin America and share your thoughts directly with these leaders. To register for this 10 a.m. MEX / 12 p.m. ART session, click here.