Business travel specialists, BCD Travel’s founder John Fentener van Vlissingen has told Dutch business newspaper Het Financieele Dagblad that the company could lose up to 3,000 jobs over the course of the coronavirus pandemic. The figure represents around a fifth of the total workforce.
Van Vlissingen also said he expected 2020 revenue to drop 75% from the 2019 figure, a year in which the travel management company recorded US$27bn in sales.
Although van Vlissingen said there would likely be some permanent Covid-related travel reduction, industries like pharmaceuticals should see an increase in travel in future years.
CMW asked BCD Travel for a further clarification on the situation with job losses and on how the company was steering a path through this situation.
“Unfortunately, addressing the current downturn in transactions requires the difficult decision to let talented and highly valued people go. Like so many other companies in the travel industry, BCD will be a smaller organisation coming out of the pandemic. ‘More than 3,000 job reductions’ refers to a rough estimate of total job reductions for the entirety of the pandemic, the vast majority of which have already been achieved through early retirements and other actions. We’re carefully mapping our approach to what our clients and prospects will need, how travel demand will evolve, and how we’ll deliver on our long-term post-Covid strategy. All of our regional and central leaders are outlining necessary steps for their areas. We know this downturn won’t last forever, so we’re balancing our response to the transaction drop with ongoing prudent investment in the projects and technologies that will continue to drive innovation in our clients’ programmes, increase revenue and improve efficiency within our own organisation.
“Our recovery plan is based on our fundamental financial stability, our strong partnership with clients, our success in winning new business and the advantages of a broad portfolio that includes virtual meetings. BCD came into the pandemic strong and has the liquidity it needs to weather the Covid-19 downturn. BCD Travel has annually reinvested 35% to 40% of its earnings back into the company over the last five years in support of people, technology, and infrastructure. Despite the sharp drop in earnings, we will continue to invest a significant amount into the company, especially in innovative solutions so our clients can get back to business and ensure duty of care, while their travellers stay safe and productive.
“We’re seeing signs of recovery, but it’s fragile and comes in waves. When borders truly open we’ll start to see an environment where business travel picks up again.”