What Australia’s Business Travel Managers Should Know

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Business travel in Australia has made a strong comeback after the decline previously caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. This resurgence greatly boosts the country’s economy, as businesses return to interstate and international collaborations and face-to-face meetings

This is having a stimulating effect on various sectors, from the hospitality industry to transportation services and beyond. Business travel operations from SMEs, which 97% of all Australian businesses according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, are heavily contributing to this resurgence.

But as we navigate this new landscape, what should Australian Business Travel Managers know to maximize this upturn successfully? This article will delve into key insights and strategies for capitalizing on the current business travel trends in Australia.

The high number of interstate flight cancellations

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Now, onto flight cancellations. According to the Bureau of Infrastructure and Transport Research Economics (BITRE).

  • Nearly one in 10 flights from Melbourne to Sydney were cancelled in March.
  • Jetstar had the highest cancellation rate at 7.1%, followed by Virgin Australia Regional Airlines at 5.6% and Qantas at 3.6%.

Yikes! That many cancellations are a lot. The culprits? A mix of:

  • Bad weather conditions
  • Supply chain issues
  • Staffing availability concerns

Plus, Sydney Airport is struggling with its own challenges, such as the slot system and the 80-20 rule, which govern the allocation of flight slots. Thankfully, a helping hand is in sight. The Federal Government’s Harris Review aims to reform legislation concerning Sydney Airport’s demand management.

Cheaper flights soon

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Who doesn’t enjoy finding a good deal? The time might be ideal if you’ve been holding off on booking that business vacation. Why, you ask? Let’s dig into some exciting trends and data in the Australian aviation industry.

According to the Bureau of Infrastructure and Transport Research Economics:

  • Passenger numbers in Australia are bouncing back to pre-2020 levels. This signals renewed confidence in air travel.
  • As the aviation industry recovers, airlines are increasing their capacity, meaning more available seats on flights.

What’s the impact of this increased capacity? Simple economics, really:

  • An increase in supply (seats on flights) often leads to a decrease in prices.
  • This means there’s a high likelihood of cheaper seats in the coming months. It’s music to any budget-conscious business traveller’s ears!

Sure, the journey hasn’t been without turbulence. Airlines like Qantas have faced their fair share of diversions and delays recently. But hold up – this doesn’t suggest a failing industry. Quite the opposite, in fact!

The clouds are parting after a difficult period, and the Australian aviation industry is poised for takeoff. It’s an exciting time for business travellers and a promising sign for Australia’s golden triangle.

The New Tourism Taxes

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Let’s talk about the proposed Passenger Movement Charge (PMC). From July 2024:

  • The federal budget will increase the PMC by $10 to $70.
  • The additional charge has been widely criticized as a “tourism tax”. This policy could cause a hike in travel charges for Australians and inflate the expenses for international tourists looking to explore Australia.
  • The extra $10 charge on outbound flights is projected to generate an astounding $1.38 billion in revenue in 2024/25.

Not everyone is cheering about this change, though. The Australian Federation of Travel Agents (AFTA) is forecasting an added cost of $520 million for the industry over the span of the next five years due to this hike. Some are even calling for a five-year freeze on future increases to provide certainty for the industry and more transparency on how the PMC revenue is allocated.

This change comes at a time when travel levels are still 30% below pre-Covid levels. The travel industry, still nursing the effects of the pandemic, faces an uphill battle.

How Sustainability Affects Business Travel Choices

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Now, let’s pivot to a subject that resonates with many: sustainable practices. In a survey conducted by Corporate Traveller, a fantastic 58% of Australian SME business owners are planning to reduce carbon emissions and waste through their travel policies in 2023.

Sounds promising, doesn’t it? And what are the top sustainability features they’re looking for? They include:

  • More direct flights
  • Electric vehicle (EV) car hire options
  • Airlines with carbon emissions reduction programs
  • Accommodation close to meeting venues to facilitate public transport use
  • Airlines that offer carbon-offsetting options

In Australia, the transportation and aviation sectors together are responsible for 17% of the nation’s emissions. Hence, there’s a push towards using sustainable aviation fuels (SAFs) and renewable energy sources to curb these emissions.

The takeaway here? We must learn from successful sustainability initiatives in other markets and adopt or invest in them locally. It’s a responsibility we all share!

TruTrip: Australia business travel management companion

Navigating the complexities of modern business travel doesn’t have to be daunting. A modern travel management company like TruTrip can help you streamline your operations, leverage data for informed decision-making, and personalize the travel experience for your travellers.

Not only can we help Australia business travel managers overcome the challenges of flight cancellations in interstate business travel, but we can also assist you in capitalizing on the trend of cheaper flights. Additionally, we’re committed to supporting your sustainability initiatives, providing solutions that minimize carbon emissions and promote environmentally friendly practices.

We also understand the implications of new tourism taxes and are ready to help corporate travel managers navigate these changes effectively. We aim to make business travel as optimized, cost-effective, and sustainable as possible for all parties involved. If you’re ready to take your business travel management to the next level, we invite you to book a demo or sign up for a free trial with TruTrip today.

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