Stats: Business Travel Is Returning

A new survey from travel risk and crisis response provider Global Rescue shows that more than half of business travelers (61 percent) have already taken their first multi-day domestic business trip of the year. “Business travel is returning due to climbing COVID-19 vaccination levels and the gradual reduction in government quarantine and testing requirements,” said Dan Richards, CEO of Global Rescue, in a press statement. He added, “Nevertheless, post-pandemic travel trepidations linger.”

International business travel is growing as well, but at a much slower pace. According to the survey, 17 percent of business travelers have already taken their first multi-day international business trip of the year. Twenty-seven percent expect to do so between now and March 2022, while 45 percent have no plans for international business travel.

More than half of survey respondents (54 percent) who travel for business reported that their company is using, or going to use, a hybrid model of work on- and off-site. “If the pandemic demonstrated anything about remote working, it is that productive work can be done from almost anywhere—and people are going to take advantage of that,” Richards said. Further, most of the business travelers (61 percent) said that a hybrid work model will not reduce their business travel despite the availability of online conferencing apps like Zoom, Webex by Cisco and Microsoft Teams.

According to the survey, video conferencing will have a mixed impact on business travelers. Thirty-five percent of business travelers said they expect video conferencing to replace about half of routine business travel in the future. Another 27 percent said they expect to use video conferencing sparingly and return to routine business travel for in-person business and sales meetings as the pandemic threat abates.

Sixteen percent said they believe video conferencing will replace most of the business travel for in-person business meetings and sales meetings. More than a fifth (21 percent) said they don’t use video conferencing in their business.

“While video conferencing will likely reduce total business travel volume in the near term there is no substitute for being in the same room with others,” Richards said, adding, “While the days of traveling long distances for one meeting with one person could be gone forever, people will travel for business at scale into perpetuity.”  

Ninety percent of business travelers surveyed said in-person business and sales meetings are “without a doubt” or “generally” more successful than video conferencing. Nine percent said video conferencing was more successful than in-person business and sales meetings.

The biggest concerns about future work-related travel among business travelers are being quarantined (29 percent), being infected with coronavirus (30 percent), border closing (23 percent), poor medical infrastructure at their destinations (10 percent), and insufficient emergency response by their company to help during a medical or security emergency (six percent).

Source: Global Rescue

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