FCM pushes past the 50% trading mark of pre-covid turnover; Top ten industries leading recovery across Asia

Following a slew of reopening timeline announcements in March by key Asian economies, FCM picks-up pace highlighting strong fundamentals behind business travel in the region

31 MARCH, 2022

One month into the announcements on reopening timelines and relaxation of restrictions by several Asia markets, FCM has pierced through the 50 per cent pre-covid turnover trading mark for the first time since covid started. Of significant mention is its Singapore business which saw a 62 per cent month-on-month increase in turnover for March.

“March was an extraordinary month, fuelled by fantastic news from several key Asian markets. The announcement by Singapore last week was the tipping point which drove a marked recovery for our business in the region. These hugely significant and greatly anticipated developments are a welcome milestone in the efforts to rebuild not just business travel but brings a much-needed boost to the recovery of Asian economies and tourism industry that we’ve all been eagerly awaiting. It is nice to see the world opening again,” said Bertrand Saillet, Managing Director for FCM in Asia.

With most Southeast Asian cities committed to a full reopening to vaccinated travellers without need of quarantine nor testing on arrival, coupled with highly anticipated lifting of travel bans over the next two months from major business travel markets like Hong Kong and Japan, Asia’s recovery is looking bright on the horizon and FCM expects accelerated recovery from its key Asia markets in the coming months.

Business resilience and recovery underway

The corporate business proved to be resilient over the last 24 months. During this period, FCM won a record USD$1.4bn of new businesses globally in the last financial year and welcomed clients such as Proctor & Gamble, Spotify, Tupperware, Nationwide, AXA and Atos. A healthy pipeline of potential opportunities indicates pent-up demand and readiness for travel too. FCM also simplified its implementation approach for new multi-national clients through a complete redesign of the integration and onboarding process to address and remove pain points while reducing average onboarding timeframes by up to 50%.

Timothy Williams, Chief Financial Officer for FCM in Asia: “Transaction levels for corporate travel in global markets which have opened since Q4 2021 have seen a bounce-back between 50-70 per cent of pre-covid levels, with some markets hitting 100 per cent recovery this quarter, performing even better than pre-covid levels. This positive trajectory indicates a strong desire to return to in-person meetings for successful business development in 2022 and we’re confident that Asia’s recovery will mirror that of the Americas and Europe in the coming months.”

Industries leading the Asia business travel bounce back

According to FCM’s booking figures, companies in the manufacturing and technology sector are leading the business travel bounce back. Pre-pandemic, both were key markets driving business travel and they continue to dominate the charts as markets in Asia re-open at varying rates across the region.

Rounding up the top three was the services sector that includes business solutions, logistics, medical and insurance companies. The biggest mover was Marine and Agriculture where they moved into the top ten for the first time in Q1 of 2022, shooting straight in from a previous rank of 21 into number seven.

“Many industries have struggled during covid with huge disruptions to their supply chains. As border restrictions start to lift, businesses are returning to travel to ensure they are engaging with customers and suppliers on a more intimate level. We’ve been privileged to be able to continue helping customers in these industries with their travel, supporting them through these challenging times with better travel risk management so they can focus on rebuilding their business. It’s particularly interesting to watch these promising industries grow and see which sectors are recovering faster than others across Asia,” added Williams.

Top 10 travelling industries (1 January to 31 March 2022):

  1. Manufacturing
  2. Technology
  3. Services (includes business solutions, logistics, medical, insurance)
  4. Retail Trade
  5. Finance & Insurance
  6. Construction
  7. Marine and Agriculture
  8. Health Care & Social Assistance
  9. Mining
  10. Transportation & Warehousing

Asia getting ready for its big return to the world stage

Singapore’s Vaccinated Travel Framework (VTF) which will kick-in on April 1 will deliver two important messages to the world; one, travelling in and out of Singapore is easy and seamless like pre-covid days; two, Singapore is fully reopened and ready for business.

“Like how the VTF aims to help Singapore reclaim its status as an international business hub, we want to help Singapore businesses reconnect with the world again to regain their position in the global market. A number of us have travelled internationally recently for meetings, and the positivity, energy and outcomes exuded from these meetings was incredible. It was a reminder that virtual engagements sometimes just isn’t enough to replace that face-to-face connection,” added Saillet.

While travellers in Asia continue to experience the challenges associated with the varying reopening timelines by individual Asian governments, FCM is well positioned to provide the tools and assistance needed to deliver an exceptional level of care while assisting customers in navigating a seamless end-to-end journey in business travel’s new reality.

Through focused investments in innovation and products, we have always pursued the transformation of an easy and seamless travel experience for our customers. We have consistently aligned our product offerings to suit local market requirements according to respective unique market traits across Asia.

The fragmented uniqueness of Asia has been the backbone driving FCM’s achievements in the region, as a travel management company that’s second to none in adapting travel programmes and offerings to suit every customer.

- Bertrand Saillet, Managing Director Asia, FCM Travel

While 2022 is marked as an optimistic year of recovery for Asia, Saillet also acknowledges that it will not be without some issues. Clearly, companies need to have confidence that travel is going to yield positive results for their business and that the reward is worth the effort and new focuses that come along with it. While easier border navigation is a critical component, there are other factors that play a part in stimulating the return to travel. Once these factors and travellers’ confidence are overcome, FCM is confident that corporate travel is going to come back in a big way.  

About FCM:

FCM is one of the largest global business travel management companies with a 24/7 worldwide reach in almost 100 countries – so when we say global network, we mean it. The flagship business division of the ASX-listed Flight Centre Travel Group (FCTG), FCM has the leverage to deliver access to the widest worldwide network of airfares, hotels and ground transport for unique and best-value travel solutions. Thousands of national and multi-national organisations around the world, including many household brands, Fortune and FTSE 100 companies, rely on FCM’s intuitive technology and expert teams to move their business travellers effortlessly and maximise their return on investment.

FCM’s agile and flexible travel technology platform anticipates and solves the needs of each business. Our flexible, globally connected teams are experts in negotiating the best deals for their clients, and offer in-depth local knowledge and duty of care support to provide the ultimate personalised business travel experience. FCM is a trusted travel partner for businesses that have regular international travel needs, take single trips at the last-minute, or have centralised their business travel across multiple markets.