Global corporate travel surges in MarchTravel And Tour World

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Published on : Wednesday, April 27, 2022

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Survey finds the number of companies that allow domestic travel rose by double digits as international travel jumps.

The number of companies that allow domestic business travel rose in March, international travel is returning and travel bookings are on the increase.

This according to the Global Business Travel Association’s April Business Travel Recovery survey of travel professionals, the 27th in a series of tracking polls since the pandemic began.

The poll found 86 percent of companies surveyed not allow at least some non-essential domestic business travel, up from 73 percent in GBTA’s February poll.

International travel made a big jump with 74 percent reporting their company now allows it, up 26 percentage points from February.

In contrast, only one in five respondents (20 percent) report they have cancelled or suspended most or all domestic business travel, compared to 33 percent in February.

International business travel continues to rebound, as less than half (45 percent) of companies surveyed said they have canceled or suspended most or all international business trips.

That’s a 27 point improvement since February’s poll, when 71 percent said they had axed most or all of their international trips.

On average, the corporate travel professionals surveyed said that, compared to their company’s spending on business travel in 2019, they expect by the end of 2022 their travel spend will be back to 59 percent of pre-pandemic levels, and will reach 79 percent by the end of 2023.

The survey of 520 corporate travel professionals found inflation concerns are leading many companies to increase their business travel spend, with 41 percent reporting an increase in spending for air travel, 34 percent for hotel stays, 33 percent for car rentals and 26 percent for ride share and taxis.

Return to the Office

According to 41 percent of the survey respondents, getting back to business travel is directly correlated with their company’s return to the office.

Over half (55 percent) say their company has implemented a permanent back-to-office policy.

However, policies vary, with over half (52 percent) saying employees will be allowed hybrid schedules, with workdays split between office and home.

Nearly one quarter (23 percent) say employees will be full-time in-office, while another one quarter (26 percent) report their company has not yet announced a permanent policy.

Only 12 percent say employees will have the choice whether to return to the office or not.

The great majority (94 percent) of travel buyers and procurement professionals surveyed feel their employees are “willing” or “very willing’ to travel for business, up from 82 percent in the February poll.

That corresponds with the finding in other recent surveys, which have confirmed a growing momentum in business travel.

For example, a March survey from American Express found three in four US business travellers are planning trips now through the fall, a number that rises to more than four in five among frequent business travellers.

Nearly nine in 10 corporate travel suppliers and travel management companies (88 percent) say bookings have increased in the prior month.

This is nearly double the percentage (45 percent) in February’s poll.

On average, travel buyers say their company’s travel bookings are currently at 56 percent of the pre-pandemic level, up 22 points from February.

GBTA CEO Suzanne Neufang said that they are seeing significant gains in the return of business travel, especially over the past month or two.

Booking levels and travel spending continue to return, and there’s high levels of optimism and employee willingness to travel for business.

This comes even as the industry faces challenges beyond COVID-19 including rising fuel prices, inflation, supply chain disruption and war in Ukraine.

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Tags: Business Travel Recovery, COVID-19 pandemic, domestic business travel, Global Business Travel Association (GBTA)


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