Demand for Business Travel on the Rise

The latest GBTA poll shows that non-essential business travel is gaining but critical functions for business continue to be impacted by global travel restrictions.

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More companies are reporting a willingness and actual return to business travel, with domestic travel taking the lead. However, government restrictions on international travel continue to hinder the ability for companies to conduct important business functions, according to the latest poll from The Global Business Travel Association (GBTA).

Compared to last month, this poll shows a 12% increase in companies opening travel and fewer companies suspending or cancelling all travel. Domestic business travel is now widely allowed and corporate bookings and travel spend continues to rise month on month. And 77% of GBTA members and stakeholders feel their employees are “willing” or “very willing” to travel for business in the current environment.

But 52% of GBTA respondents said that government policies and restrictions relating to international business travel continue to impact their companies’ ability to conduct business functions such as networking, business prospecting, planning, and sales meetings.

“There is clearly an appetite to resume non-essential business travel and in-person meetings to promote collaboration, networking, and business opportunities,” said Suzanne Neufang, CEO of GBTA. “And interestingly, it doesn’t appear that cost savings are necessarily a key driver in waiting to get travelers back out on the road. However, government policies and restrictions on international travel continue to hinder progress in pursuing activities so important to conducting business.”

Over half (57%) of respondents are usually or sometimes allowed to conduct non-essential domestic business travel, according to the poll. Two in ten are rarely allowed (20%) or not allowed (23%) to conduct non-essential domestic business travel.

Non-essential international business travel continues to be delayed, with one in four (26%) GBTA members and stakeholders usually allowed or sometimes allowed to conduct non-essential international business travel.

Less than two in 10 of respondents (18%) said their employees will need to be vaccinated before traveling for business or meet with clients and customers face-to-face (16%), compared to more than half who will not, according to the poll. A quarter of respondents do not know their company’s vaccination policies and if they will be required to be vaccinated for business travel or to meet with clients and customers.

GBTA conducted this poll of its members across the globe from July 6-13, 2021.

Hear more from Mark Sharoff, GBTA, at the ICRS 2021 session, "Keynote: Understanding Data & Trends to Engage the Post-Covid Car Renter" on August 17 at 8:30 a.m.

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