Business travel continues to increase after the challenges of recent years. Over the next six months alone, 84% of business travelers expect to go on at least one business trip to attend conferences, conventions, or trade showers, a new survey revealed
Face-to-Face is Back
A recent Quarterly Business Travel Tracker survey discovered business travelers will average 1.6 trips per month, which is only a slight decrease from the pre-pandemic number of 1.7 monthly business trips.
“The return of in-person meetings and events — and business travel in general — is a welcome sight after more than two years of pandemic-related uncertainty,” said US Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow. “There is simply no substitute for a face-to-face meeting, which is proven to lead to more fruitful business opportunities and can help power an economic and jobs recovery in communities across America.”
Over half of the survey’s responses say conferences, conventions, and trade shows are a must in securing and maintaining relationships with customers and suppliers.
“In-person conferences have relational and financial impacts to corporations that are significant,” said Andrea Stokes, Practice Lead for Hospitality at JD Power. One in four respond to believe these events are crucial in sales.
These important conferences, as well as training opportunities, are the two main reasons why business travelers are hitting the road again, according to an American Express survey. In this survey, 75% of business travelers are interested in traveling for work again. Notably, millennials are expected to engage in the most business travel. More “bleisure” trips – work and leisure paired – is a priority for travelers now as well.
Good for Business
Another recent survey from the American Hotel & Lodging Association discovered a majority of business travelers believe virtual work has negatively affected productivity and workplace culture.
“The last two years of virtual work arrangements and travel restrictions have underscored the importance of travel and face-to-face meetings for businesses, employees and customers alike,” AHLA President Chip Rogers said. “These results are proof that Most Americans recognize the unmatched value business travel and face-to-face meetings provide.”
With business travel returning to almost pre-pandemic levels, more work — both personal and professional — is expected to be accomplished.
“Business travel seemed to be ready for takeoff last summer, but the emergence of COVID-19 variants quickly grounded plans — as a result, leaders are more conservative in their estimates for business travel’s recovery,” said Deloitte’s Mike Daher.
“While many of us are eager to see our co-workers, clients and associates in person, technology platforms have made it possible for most businesses to not just continue their operations from afar, but thrive in doing so. Combined with workplace flexibility that shows no signs of going away, businesses are reassessing and reprioritizing when and why employees travel — which can create a suitcase full of new opportunities for organizations to evolve and grow.”
If you liked this article, sign up for SmartBrief’s free email newsletter for the business traveler or for the travel professional. They’re among SmartBrief’s more than 250 industry-focused newsletters.