Media Impacts of Business Movement during Pandemic


Napoleon is normally associated as citing Britain as a nation of shopkeepers when in fact the phrase was first coined in the late 18th Century by Bertrand Barère de Vieuzac, the French revolutionary. Little did they both know that eventually, Britain would become a nation of Asian shopkeepers! 

Point being that it is long accepted South Asians have a much higher propensity to own and run independent retail shops and outlets, certainly within the Grocery, CTN sectors alongside a host of various other professions in which South Asians have proven to be resourceful and ambitious in demonstrating how they have a natural flair at succeeding as entrepreneurs.

 I distinctly recall joking as a kid how Asians were never any good at football because every time they received a corner, they would open up a shop! In such politically correct times, I’m not sure I can cut such wise cracks anymore! Back to the present day, the UK’s South Asian community over the decades has matured with many penetrating senior positions in the Corporate world, often internationally, again exhibiting higher incidence in Law, IT and Finance work disciplines to name but a few when compared vs the White Caucasian average base.

Though as with all other industry sectors, none have been immune to the economically debilitating effect of the pandemic on the wider Business community in terms of their motivation, movement and outlook. It is this area I would like to hone in on by providing a snap shot of the observed effects of Covid-19 impacting Business audiences globally and how they may interact with the world within a media perspective.

Shorter term switch to domestic/short haul business travel raises in-market media scope

International businessmen are long renowned for travelling by air, hence the evolution of Business Class! Airports therefore have become a endemic second home for business people and their reliance on air travel has resulted in acute market changes during the pandemic. Looking Far East, China’s easing of air travel restrictions between Chinese provinces has led to business travel demand being the first to rebound, recovering by 50% overall.

Some of China’s cities with the highest abundance of migrant workers, like Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Chengdu, have already surged close to this level. Albeit generally, Asia is culturally geared more towards physical face-to-face dealings. Still, this points to a blueprint for replication across the West, whilst broadening out to encompass short haul travel bubbles as air bridges come into fruition between UK and the rest of the EU.

Similarly, Skit’s most recent research highlights how US domestic market, as restrictions start to ease in certain states, has reported 5% uptick in passenger traffic during May, which includes business passengers. Notwithstanding switch envisaged to using more in-country and/or cross boarder train services serving main business hubs already well connected, e.g. London-Paris gateway onto Frankfurt-Amsterdam. While train modes offer business targeting opportunities, they may not provide the prestigious, stature building sites and endorsement afforded by airport environments.   

Smarter, more efficient techniques to track n’ trace Business audiences

Future mobility is likely to be increasingly influenced by ongoing global pandemic, potential recurrences, various geopolitical tension and impacts continuing to take hold. This requires greater flexibility in ways in which business audiences are typically engaged.

Burgeoning digitisation of out of home inventory (namely digital billboards) with application of advanced audience data will enable purer audience-led implementational methods outside of airport environments. Such programmatic approaches are delivering significant efficiencies by zoning in on key times and areas where there is likely to be a higher propensity for business audiences to persist.

This ties in with the aforementioned in-market emphasis where role of key financial city hubs and central business districts will provide fertile ground to minimise wastage when following and reaching business audiences, to compliment and work alongside any in-airport activations targeting this group.


Forecasted rise of extreme business travel segment creates new, focal media pit stops

Even with virtual communication tech prevailing, face-to-face meetings are still deemed irreplaceable, e.g. US’s National Car Rental survey, 81% said business travel helps build key business relationships that otherwise cannot be had. The role of airline rewards programmes, currently under-developed commercially, could provide fresh ways to hone in on a more concentrated level of Business practitioners taking essential, necessary travel that shape business travel recovery.

Within this, how will Business users further meld tightening leisure trips when travelling on business? 51% of C-suites already travel 1st or Business during leisure trips. This segment are purportedly driving private jet usage too which has soared +40% YOY since March – 70% of users were already business according to Private Jet Media, though it is reported just over 4% of Global C-suite use private flying methods (skewed US @ 7.8%, 3.5% Europe).

Even APAC’s C-suite, where just 2% use personal planes, Singapore-based My Jet Asia has witnessed an c. 90% upswing. However, its viability as a media channel remains challenging, i.e. de-centralised vendors, chiefly static inventory, low dwell time, splash n’ dash use, nominal reach volumes and much higher cost to reach audience. Sustainability angle may need consideration too given pressure this puts of Corporate Social Responsibility obligations.

Flying privately does little to reduce carbon footprints! That aside, reported correlations suggest private jets attract super-high business performers, e.g. those that use private aviation out of S&P’s 500 outperform those that don’t by 70%. Reducing entry costs relatively may also fuel further usage, e.g. ”very light jet” for up to four now costs “just” $2,400 (Paramount Business Jets).

Sources used where not quoted: Forward Keys 2020, TGI GBI 2019, Private Jet Media in-house data.

Also Read: Boeing expects aviation sector to recover

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