Travel management company FCM has reported an 89% uplift in corporate travel bookings from Singapore. This comes on the back of the Vaccinated Travel Lanes announcement, also known as VTLs which was implemented in early September. It’s a significant leap toward corporate travel, which has shown impressive gains as it doubled FCM’s travel bookings into Germany in September.
“There is no doubt corporate travel will take some time to recover. However, we expect this momentum to continue especially as we head into year-end, as companies and travellers’ travel intent remains high, especially to VTL destinations,” said Vicki Parris, VP for Customer Success in Asia. “For bookings out of Singapore, Germany has moved up three places and is now the top destination, replacing the USA as the top destination.”
An analysis of FCM’s data revealed that almost 100% of people returning from Munich and Frankfurt are on VTL flights. Travellers have switched from non-VTL flights or transferred from other German cities onto VTL flights out of Frankfurt or Munich so they can enter Singapore without need for quarantine.
“We are seeing a very positive outlook with corporate travellers eager to embrace the VTLs. Corporate travel and the corresponding customer experience are getting a new lease of life. With the pandemic taking its toll on relationships and mental well-being, we also noticed a change in the purpose of travel among our clients,” said Parris.
While leisure, bleisure and home leave usually account for less than 5% of FCM’s booking volume in the past, FCM saw a massive uptake in clients’ bookings for these reasons in September which accounted for a third of total bookings. The majority of travellers are European expatriates who have not seen their families for the past 18 months. While many of them used the Singapore-Germany VTL for business needs, several travellers also took the opportunity to either meet with family or add on a few days of leisure into the trip.
To stimulate demand and activity for these newly opened routes, airlines with VTL flights have reduced the fares of economy seats by an average of 60% post-VTL announcement. Prices of business class tickets has increased by 15% as airlines attempt to regain revenue from businesses and individual corporate travellers who are less price sensitive.
“It would be natural to assume that prices across all cabins would rise due to pent-up demand especially with limited availability on selected flights to a single destination – in this case Germany. However as FCTG and FCM have seen in other countries where travel has resumed, traveller confidence takes time to rebuild,” said Parris on the sharp reduction in cost of travel for economy fares.