Business Travel Brightening towards the End of 2021
According to a recent online flash poll conducted by the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA), things are looking hopeful for business travel in 2021. From the results, it’s expected that by the end of the year, in terms of business travel at least, things will be business as usual.
The poll first published in June by the GBTA reported several key insights around the resurgence of travel. This has offered companies within the travel industry a light at the end of a long, lockdown tunnel.
Downturn in Business Travel since 2021
Naturally, many members of the GBTA reported that there was a massive downturn in the state of travel in 2021. This is, of course, unsurprising as since the COVID-19 outbreak countries have variously restricted movements in ways that have severely impacted the travel industry.
This trend has continued into 2021. According to the businesses surveyed in June:
- 91% have cancelled or suspended international business trips.
- 63% have cancelled or suspended domestic business trips.
Of the businesses surveyed that have cancelled or suspended trips:
- 51% plan to resume domestic business travel by the end of September.
- 21% plan to resume business travel by the end of September.
Hope for the Future of T&E
The report was filled with insights that will undoubtedly bring a positivity to travel business after what has been a tremendously difficult eighteen months. Many travel suppliers (airlines, hotels, ground transportation, etc.) were reporting a steady increase in future bookings. This included a 62% increase in future bookings, indicating that the market was inclined towards opening up.
With events such as Business Travel Show Europe on the horizon, this certainly seems to be the case. In fact, throughout May of this year, there was around a 60% increase in businesses travel spend compared to the prior month. This leads many to suspect that by the end of 2021, travel may reach even higher levels.
More Employees Willing to Travel
Perhaps unsurprisingly, given the pervasiveness and mental toll of lockdown restrictions, many employees are now more willing to travel than ever.
In the survey, travel managers noted that the vast majority of their employees are willing to travel for work. 19% of surveyed employees were very willing to travel compared with 9% for the previous November. Only 15% of the surveyed group were unwilling to travel to some degree. This is a big drop from nearly 41% for the same willingness in November 2020.
Overall, most employees were somewhat willing to travel with around 58% responding positively compared with 41% the previous November. From results like this, there is growing optimism among travel suppliers that business travel will grow significantly towards the end of 2021.
Will New Work-Life Balance bring Increased Travel?
An area of concern for some concerns is the new work-life that the pandemic has created. Many companies and employees have now fully embraced Working-From-Home as the new normal. What was once a matter of necessity has for many become a preferred way of working and living.
However, companies were asked if they thought if this flexibility would lead to more or less travel. Surprisingly, 65% of respondents believe that this increased work flexibility will lead to more business travel. While third of respondents said that this would lead to less business travel.
It remains to be seen, however, what the sustained impact will be on business travel for 2022 but for now things are looking increasingly hopeful.
Return to Normal – Business Travel Show Europe
A welcoming sign of the return to normality is the increased amount of events on the horizon. This year the Business Travel Show Europe will take place from the 30th September to 1st October in ExCel London.
This event promises to bring all the very best of business travel into location, putting corporate travellers at the heart of the show. Attendees can expect to learn about new practices and trends within the industry and meet colleagues.
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