Meetings remain key driver of increased business travel demand


Demand for business and leisure travel across the world is forecast to be at 85 per cent of 2019 levels this year, according to FCM Consulting’s latest Global Trends Report.

The first quarter of 2023 saw corporate travel demand remain strong despite the mixed economic conditions, with securing options and booking lower prices driving corporate travellers to book online, early.

Domestic booking trends for the first quarter compared to the same period last year saw a 27 per cent rise in online adoption, the advance booking days extended from 17 to 19, and average days away held firm at 2.9. The report also showed that in-person meetings was the leading reason for corporate travel.

“After 2022, a year full of significant imbalance of both supply and demand, air travel will stabilise this year, seeing added capacity in the first half of 2023 and airfares moderating in the second half and first quarter of 2023,” said FCM Consulting General Manager Felicity Burke.

“The seat capacity was up 2.1 per cent on the last quarter of 2022 and down 6.8 per cent on the first quarter of 2019,” said FCM Consulting general manager Felicity Burke.

“Early forecasts show air capacity offered in 2023 will be just 2.5 per cent short of 2019 volumes. The region with the highest seat growth in the first quarter of 2023 versus the last quarter of 2022 was Asia with a 12.2 per cent increase, with most other regions averaging two per cent growth.

“The exception to this was Europe which saw an 8.7 per cent decline as the region balanced changes in demand but the Northern Hemisphere summer will drive demand in the second and third quarter of 2023.

“For 2023, the LATAM Airlines Group at plus 4 per cent and United Airlines at plus 2 per cent are predicted to surpass 2019 seats offered. The forecast across the 20 major airlines reports a 94 per cent return of seats in 2023 vs 2019.

“Interestingly, when you look at some of the city pairings, business class airfares have dropped and some quite significantly. The perfect example of this is Auckland to Sydney, which has decreased by 24 per cent in January and February 2023 when compared to the same months in 2019.”