Discover the Latest Business Travel Trends in South Africa
Real-time reporting, traveller well-being, and sustainable travel on the rise
Bonnie Smith, FCTG Corporate General Manager, shares her view on the trends that emerged in the FCM Consulting Global Q4 Trend Report.
I am pleased to report that business travel has almost returned to normal. According to FCM Consulting's Global Q4 Trend Report, airline seat capacity increased by 18% year-on-year globally, and the South African market in particular saw a 26% increase in international business travel. While this is undoubtedly positive news, high pricing of seats in the South African domestic market has caused a decrease in business demand by 30% in our country.
Unfortunately, airline prices in South Africa are unlikely to return to the low prices we saw before 2019, which is why procurement managers or anyone running a travel programme should be focussing on having access to data about their travel costs in their business in real-time. By having access to data, companies can see where their leakage is and take steps to redefine their travel programme to cut costs.
There have also been some encouraging developments in the South African travel industry. Hotel occupancy rates have improved, with Southern Africa reaching a rate of 92%, and hotels are selling more room nights. Additionally, the MICE industry is returning to non-virtual models.
One of the most challenging sectors in the industry is car hire. Getting the type of rental car you want isn’t easy, especially if you want an automatic or a specific size vehicle. And availability can be a challenge if you're in a smaller rural town. However, FCM is actively engaging with suppliers to help resolve some of the issues.
In terms of destinations for business travellers, London and Dubai remain popular international destinations, while Mali ranks third. Regional business travel for South Africans is strong with Gaborone, Maun and Harare taking the lead. Johannesburg emerged as the winner for domestic travel.
Sustainable business travel has already become a global talking point, and it's encouraging to see that South Africa is also starting to prioritise this issue. Increased demand from clients asking for real-time reporting to give their businesses visibility to inform their travel policies has been noted. By utilising platforms like FCM, clients can see their carbon emissions associated with travel and then take action based on that information.
Another key takeaway from the report, there is more emphasis on the traveller's well-being. This is something we take seriously at FCM, and we ensure our clients have access to the best possible travel experiences.
In conclusion, while there are still challenges facing the South African travel industry, we are seeing positive signs of recovery. By partnering with the right business travel management company, accessing real-time reporting, and placing emphasis on traveller well-being, we can ensure the industry continues to thrive.