Corporate travel recovers revenue even with fewer passengers


The corporate travel segment has recovered its pre-pandemic revenue level, although it is carrying 20% ​​fewer passengers than before, according to data from Abracorp.

The entity, which brings together companies in the sector, points out that the business travel segment moved BRL 1.06 billion in November 2022, compared to BRL 967 million in the same month of 2019.

From January to November 2022, revenues totaled BRL 10.2 billion. The value was almost triple that of 2021, when gains were R$ 3.8 billion. About two-thirds of this revenue comes from airline tickets.

The sector, however, has taken fewer passengers: in November 2022, 20% fewer airline tickets were issued for corporate travel than in the same month of 2019. Thus, the recovery in revenue occurred because travel is costing more than before, especially plane tickets.

In 2022, these tickets increased by 23.53% over the year, according to data from the IPCA (Extended Consumer Price Index), while the total inflation rate increased by 5.79%. The rise in fuel prices is seen as the main reason for this increase.

“The first point that the customer considers is the cost of the ticket. If it’s expensive, he won’t even look for other things, like the hotel”, considers Gervásio Tanabe, executive director of Abracorp.

The tourism sector is still facing problems brought about by the pandemic, such as the replacement of labor that was dismissed or resigned and cases of large clients who renegotiated contracts during the pandemic and started to pay less.

“We used external resources to be able to maintain operations [durante a pandemia], and now we are paying off these loans. Customers need to understand this,” asks Tanabe.

The pandemic has also brought some changes to corporate travel. With the increase in the use of video meetings, industry representatives note a drop in short-term trips and trips to capital cities.

According to data from Abracorp, flights to São Paulo, Brasília, Curitiba, Porto Alegre and Belo Horizonte represented 35% of corporate routes in 2019. At the end of 2022, they were 28%.

“This is a sign that there has been a reduction in air travel on shorter stretches. A first reading indicates that customers may be opting for other modes on these stretches, such as car rental”, points out Tanabe.

The entity’s data also point to an increase in the use of road buses and car rental for business trips, which practically doubled, and a sharp drop in the search for cruises and railroad tickets.

“Individual travel is not what moves the corporate world. It is unlikely that someone will fly just for a one-hour meeting in Rio. But the big fairs, congresses and conventions are back with force”, evaluates Leonel Andrade, president of CVC Corp.

These big events are planned months in advance. As Covid recorded an increase in cases in early 2021, many companies postponed plans to hold events in the second half of that year. In 2022, after a sharper drop in the number of contagions, more organizers felt confident to schedule large face-to-face actions in 2023.

This January, São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro continue to be the most popular destinations for business trips, especially as they concentrate many sector fairs and the headquarters of large companies, according to CVC. Best known for leisure travel, the company also serves the corporate public in the B2B mode: it intermediates the purchase of tickets and accommodation for other agencies.

At the same time, more tourist cities, such as Salvador and Gramado (RS) have sought to attract more corporate events, as a way to maintain hotel occupancy in low season, escaping the typical seasonality of destinations that are booming in summer or winter. The plan is for this to help increase revenue for restaurants and other local services.

“It’s very rare for someone to travel for work and not take advantage of some local attraction, like going out to eat or going to a theater”, recalls Andrade.

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