Video meetings instead of meetings in hotels and conference rooms – this works surprisingly well for many companies. Has the traditional business trip become obsolete once and for all?
Frankfurt Airport, Terminal 1, Section A. Before the pandemic, you always met many typical business travelers here in particular: dark suits, only hand luggage, and the quick and efficient walk to the security checkpoints. There is a lot less going on in this area now. Lockdown, entry restrictions, video conferencing: all of this has caused the number of business trips to plummet. And the aviation industry assumes that tourists will be flying more again first. Nevertheless: Lufthansa board member Harry Hohmeister does not want to write off business travelers. “In 2021 we will gear our offer more towards tourist destinations,” he explains. Nevertheless, he is certain that business travel will increase significantly again from 2022 onwards and “as a business travel airline – that is Deutsche Lufthansa, Swiss and Austrian – we will continue to focus on this as well.”
New meeting concepts, new forms of work?
After a good year of Corona it seems clear: Although professional appointments can also be carried out purely digitally, this does not apply to every type of business exchange. Michael Bourke is responsible for meetings and conferences at the Danish pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk. In a discussion on the digitally hosted International Tourism Exchange (ITB), he says that his company will not return to the status of 2019, but will set up criteria that determine when and how to meet: “If it is possible face-to-face again is, people can decide whether it is more sustainable and practical to do it virtually – or whether it is necessary to meet. ”
That will certainly continue to exist, says Bourke
Stefan Tolga Gumuseli from Air France KLM also assumes that business trips to Corona will increase again. However, he is certain that there will be new trends here too: “Less short trips, more long ones. I expect more the combination of vacation and business trip, the home office principle during such trips: extending the vacation trip and then also from the destination working out.”
The railway wants to compete with the airlines
Railway companies are hoping for more from the business travel business. Business travelers who switched to the train during the pandemic would be happy to stop, says Stefanie Berk, responsible for marketing in long-distance transport: “As soon as we can get back to business, we will enter into intensive communication here. We are already doing that by ourselves to talk to the companies about what offers we can make them to make them feel good about security. ”
However, Deutsche Bahn is also aiming to attract business travelers in the long term with attractive offers.In Terminal 1, Section A at Frankfurt Airport, things will certainly be livelier again after the pandemic. However, it remains to be seen how many business people will rush to the security check here in the future.