Brussels Airlines has recorded a slight increase in business trips from Belgium since mid-August. With an increase in the number of bookings between 30 and 40%, the airline expects 28,000 business passengers from Brussels in September. While business trips normally book two to three weeks in advance, the trend of last minute bookings since the start of the coronavirus crisis has changed the booking time to just two to three days before their travel date.
Increasing demand for business travel
Some industries are resuming business travel faster than others. The first sectors to pick up business travel again are European and other political institutions, universities and the Navy, international construction companies and materials manufacturers. Also NGOs and insurance companies that carry out repatriations, represent part of the business customers of Brussels Airlines. Although many multinationals expect a (partial) work-from-home policy, the airline expects its large corporate customers to relax their travel policy from October.
Popular Business Destinations
The destinations for business travelers are mainly European destinations Italy (), Denmark (Copenhagen), Czech Republic (Prague), Germany (Berlin), Austria (Vienna), Switzerland (Geneva), Spain (Madrid & Barcelona) & Portugal (Lisbon).
With the relaxation of travel restrictions imposed by the US government, fully vaccinated EU passengers can enter the US smoothly, Brussels Airlines expects a demand for business travel to the United States. In the first 24 hours after the announcement of the end of the travel ban, Brussels Airlines recorded a booking increase of 180%. The Belgian airline will offer 4-week flights to New York JFK during the winter season.
Throughout the crisis, the African network remained vital to the airline for both VFR traffic and business travel by NGOs and other companies. Brussels Airlines expects business travel demand to return to 2019 levels by 2024. The demand for leisure travel is recovering much faster.
Extra flexibility remains key
The airline also sees that this is more relevant than ever for the ultimate customer. That is why Brussels Airlines has special offers for companies during the pandemic. For SMEs, Brussels Airlines and the Lufthansa Group offer a corporate bonus program called Partner Plus Benefit. The company earns points that can be used towards a wide selection of prizes, such as free tickets, upgrades, lounge access and more.
To boost business travel again, the Lufthansa Group, including Brussels Airlines, is offering double points on the whole until the end of the year. More information and a free subscription to the program can be found at: www.partnerplusbenefit.com. During the pandemic, the Belgian airline also launched the most far-reaching flexible concept on the Belgian market, called “Pay-As-You-Fly”.
The ‘Pay-As-You-Fly’ product offers process benefits that go far beyond the journey itself based on the concept: “book -> fly -> pay”. As before, contracted business customers can make their reservation through their preferred booking channel, namely their designated travel agency or their online business booking system. The airfares for all confirmed segments are issued 24 hours before.
The main difference with a traditional booking is that the payment is only activated when the guest is on board the flight. From that moment on, the ticket price will be debited from the company credit card. If the ‘Pay-as-you-fly’ ticket is not used, ie the passenger has not checked in, it will be canceled automatically. The payment card is therefore not debited. Payments sent when travel plans are changed or received are not sent. Over the past two years, flexibility has become even more of a necessity for the customer. With these products adapt to the needs of its passengers, thus Brussels Airlines.
Also read: Virgin Atlantic website crashes while booking flights