Spotlight On Employment: Analyzing The Pandemic’s Impact On Corporate Travel Jobs And Exploring Ways Out
The business travel world turned upside down in 2020. Careers came to abrupt pauses, leaving professionals wondering when and how they’d again be employed. The Company Dime offered free one-year subscriptions to travel professionals who lost their positions due to the coronavirus and about 570 of you took us up on the offer. To help those with questions about job searches, career opportunities, résumé building and interviewing — and to provide a forum for commiserating, networking and sharing — in April and May 2021, we hosted dozens of attendees on a two-part conference call as well as a Zoom roundtable with five of those displaced. We based the discussions on feedback gathered from a survey of the 570. This package of articles, audio and video is the result of efforts by several dozen interviewees and experts.
Thanks to the pandemic, newly approved bylaws and turnover on the Global Business Travel Association board, 2021 will usher in a new era for the association. The membership has called for change, and two dozen industry professionals are vying for eight open board seats in elections that will run June 21 to July 19. The candidates include some board incumbents, but mostly new faces. In platform statements, most of them stressed inclusiveness, better industry education and transparency following GBTA’s messy 2020.
A settlement between Avis Budget Group and the U.S. government regarding allegations that the car rental company overcharged the world’s largest business travel spender holds some lessons for corporate buyers and program managers. The biggest is to remain vigilant, but that’s often easier said than done. On Thursday, the U.S. Department of Justice said Avis Budget would pay $10.1 million to resolve the allegations. One of them was that the rental car company made “false claims” between 2014 and 2019 about payments due under an agreement managed by the Department of Defense Travel Management Office.
In its move to two travel management companies and one global distribution system, $67 billion multinational manufacturing conglomerate Siemens focused on the traveler experience. Some corporations that establish agreements with GDS providers do so for economic reasons. “Incentives were clearly not the driver in this change,” according to an email this week from Siemens head of global travel management Albert James Kueng, describing an April announcement with Amadeus. “The drivers are innovation and service: 24 hours and seven days a week, wherever you are.”
Cloud tech company Dropbox has never recorded an annual profit, but margins are up since 2019 thanks to remote work, layoffs and savings on travel and events. The company is betting everything on remote work. It didn’t just reorient its products to better serve customers working virtually. Execs also expect “significant” financial improvements by subleasing some real estate and hiring in “lower-cost” locations. The idea is to “live our mission” as “a distributed team building for distributed teams,” CEO and co-founder Drew Houston said during conference calls with equities analysts.
A few years ago, while on a work trip in Los Angeles, I hailed an Uber for a crosstown ride during rush hour. I knew it would be a long trip, and I steeled myself to fork over $60 or $70. Instead, the app spit out a price that made my jaw drop: $16. Experiences like these were common during the golden era of the Millennial Lifestyle Subsidy, which is what I like to call the period from roughly 2012 through early 2020, when many of the daily activities of big-city 20- and 30-somethings were being quietly underwritten by Silicon Valley venture capitalists.
In an article from our licensed content program, an organizational psychologist at Wharton explores the concept of languishing, calling it the “neglected middle child of mental health.” Many of us have experienced general malaise during the pandemic, or burnout from working too hard. We also feature startup Dónde, which helps companies provide their employees with travel — the leisure kind — as a perk.