International business travel recovery has reached the halfway mark
as economic concerns now overshadow Covid-19 as the key obstacle to
business travel, according to a Global Business Travel Association poll
of 594 member travel buyers and suppliers.
Travel managers in the survey on average said their domestic business
travel volumes have reached 63% of their 2019 levels, and international
travel reached an average of 50% of 2019 levels. A solid majority said
their company now allows non-essential business travel, 86% for
domestic and 74% for international.
"We continue to see progress as business travel makes its way back to
being a US$1.4 trillion global industry, pre-pandemic," GBTA CEO
Suzanne Neufang said in a statement. "It is also important to understand
the context of global business travel's recovery. Asia is still opening
its borders, international business travel in general started picking
up only earlier this year across the globe, and the U.S. has only
permitted unrestricted travel since June."
In terms of expectations for 2023, only 4% of travel suppliers in the
survey said Covid-19 would be the most likely culprit in reduced
business travel bookings, compared with 80% who were more concerned
about tighter or frozen travel budgets due to high inflation or a
recession, according to GBTA.
At this point, however, both buyers and suppliers think 2023 will be a
stronger year for business travel than this year. Nearly 80% of travel
managers said their employees will take more business trips in 2023 than
this year, and about two-thirds said both internal and external travel
will increase year over year in 2023. Among suppliers, 80% said they
expect their corporate clients' travel spending will be up next year,
and 85% said bookings will be higher year over year.
Hybrid office/remote work setups, with employees expected to report
to the office on some days, continue to be the dominant model, in use by
about two-thirds of the survey's respondents, GBTA reported. Only 12%
said they are back in the office full-time, while 20% said their
companies are fully remote. Those with hybrid or fully remote set-ups do
not expect a large impact on business travel, with 72% saying it would
not affect the number of business trips their employees take. The
remainder were evenly split in saying it would result in either more or
less travel, according to GBTA.
GBTA conducted the survey from 20 September through 26 September.
About half the respondents were either travel managers and buyers or
other procurement and sourcing professionals; a third were travel
suppliers; 10% worked with travel management companies; and the rest
were classified as "other."
Source: Business Travel News