Business travel: companies limit their seminars to smaller formats

Faced with the uncertainties surrounding health measures, which are constantly evolving, companies are still reluctant to have their employees travel, even if they have not given up organizing the usual back-to-school seminars, even if it means changing their habits. All professionals agree on the fact that it is through local events, then national, and finally continental, that business will resume.

“Small seminars were the first to resume in May and soon the largest ones, for the banking, consulting, tech sectors, Corsica, Spain, Greece… Even companies that maintain teleworking need of team building, of interactions, to recreate value ”, observes the chairman of the management board of Hopscotch Group, Frédéric Bedin.

Wait-and-see companies

“We feel that companies are keen to revitalize their teams”, confirms Benjamin Abittan, Deputy CEO of Châteauform ‘. In June, the seminar organizer was on figures 10% higher than in 2019. “But the volume of orders received in August for September is quite low. Companies remain on the lookout despite the health pass, ”he explains.

“Before the Covid, 60% of the activity concerned international travel and 40% domestic. It turned around. Even travel within Europe is very limited and transcontinental travel remains an epiphenomenon, ”notes for her part the general manager of the specialized agency BCD Travel, Valérie Sasset.

Priority to domestic destinations

Same observation at Air France, whose traffic for conventions, seminars and incentive meetings “is refocusing very clearly on France and to a lesser extent on medium-haul”, observes a spokesperson, specifying that “the main destinations from Paris are Marseille and Nice ”.

In fact, at the Deauville International Center, the thirty or so events that will take place from September to December are 40% regional and 60% national. Its director, Carine Fouquier, notes “a resumption of requests for conventions and seminars for 2022”, but “without returning to the level of 2019 and with a much longer time frame in decision-making”.

For the boss of Hopscotch, “secondly, we start to see international seminars and bosses who travel to find subsidiaries around the world. There are even business trips to more exotic destinations like Africa, but more generally in southern Europe. “

Caution remains in order

But caution remains in order, especially for international events. “Some will remain continental for three more years,” predicts Pierre-Louis Boucaries, president of Provence Côte d’Azur Events and director of the Mandelieu-La Napoule Tourist and Congress Office.

“International, both for events and for exhibitors or participants, remains unknown because of travel restrictions but also the travel policies of large companies,” adds Pablo Nakhlé Cerruti, CEO of Viparis, operator of exhibition centers and convention centers.

Finally, the climate issue and the need to reduce the ecological footprint of companies also contribute to reducing the market. “Air travel with departure at dawn and late return will be called into question, on the one hand to reduce companies’ travel budgets, and on the other hand for ever stronger CSR considerations” underlines the CEO of the specialized agency BCD Travel.

Janelle B. Smith

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