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European Buyers Name Lack of Staff and Resources as Their Biggest Challenge

Travel buyers’ ability to source suppliers is being most impacted by a lack of internal staff and resources but they seem more relaxed about the introduction of NDC-based airfares, according to the latest research from Business Travel Show Europe. 

The survey of around 250 global travel and procurement managers, largely based in the UK and Europe, found that 49 per cent were suffering from a lack of inhouse staff when sourcing travel providers.

Other major issues affecting buyers’ sourcing efforts include a lack of meaningful data, which was a problem for 30 per cent of respondents, followed by the need to “rethink” travel policy (29 per cent), the lack of supplier resources and staff (27 per cent), unknown future travel patterns (27 per cent) and volatile supplier pricing (25 per cent).

The survey also revealed that the majority of buyers (80 per cent) were currently happy with the way their TMC or online booking tool supplier was dealing with the ongoing introduction of more NDC-based airline fares and products.

Around 70 per cent of buyers said they either already had access to the NDC content they needed (31 per cent) or were happy with their suppliers’ plans to provide this content (38.5 per cent). Another 10.5 per cent said they were “reasonably happy” about the situation.

The level of interest among buyers about NDC was strong with 57 per cent saying they were “very interested” and wanted to ensure they had access to this content from airlines. Another 33 per cent said they knew about NDC but were “not too concerned about it”.

Driving more bookings online is another key priority for buyers with 91.5 per cent saying they were actively trying to achieve this goal.

Currently just 15 per cent of buyers surveyed have achieved an online adoption rate of above 80 per cent, while 11 per cent are only at a rate of 20 per cent or lower for their online bookings. Most buyers (61 per cent) were within the 21 to 60 per cent range for online bookings.

Despite the desire to increase online bookings, more than half of buyers (55 per cent) said this adoption rate was “about the same” as it was before the Covid-19 pandemic, with 22 per cent saying it was now lower than in 2019.

The survey also highlighted how sustainability has become an increasingly important consideration for travellers, but travel managers are falling behind when it comes to actively implementing sustainable travel policy.

Business Travel Show Europe returns to ExCeL London from 28-29 June alongside TravelTech Show and The Meetings Show.

Source : Business Travel News Europe