Business Travel – will it come back? Is it coming back?
Axios showcased data projecting corporate travel to remain at just 30% of 2019 levels by the end of 2021 in a Deloitte survey of travel managers. Half of the surveyed companies say they’re adjusting their travel strategies to be more sustainable. 76% say they’re turning more internal meetings that would require flying into online ones, 58% say they’ll do fewer business trips overall and 55% say they’ll specifically look at cutting back on international corporate travel.
Two-thirds of respondents say they’ll reduce the frequency of business trips to save money.
TechRepublic, meanwhile, cited two surveys. Colunga explained that 68% of business travelers and travel managers are “pushing for a return to business travel” and cited GBTA data, which shows that 40% of companies had already resumed “non-essential domestic business travel.”
It may be too early to tell — John Grant, chief analyst at OAG, said the company has seen “no evidence of any recovery in the business market,” adding that this uptick would be “unexpected” since its “peak vacation season.”
Why do we care?
Business travel can be used as a barometer for economic activity… and a measure of the change in the underlying patterns. For me, it’s becoming more of the second and less of the first.
My working theory continues to be that the pandemic taught those in finance that business can be done more cheaply with similar results electronically. Add to that the acceleration of ecommerce and it’s easy to see the trend. Remember this is an AND – not an OR. Businesses are accelerating the investment in electronic and de-emphaisizing but not eliminating the physical.
This should be a lens for your own processes, and what you take to customers. Are you as easy to business with online as you are in person?