JD Power, US Travel Association and Tourism Economics are monitoring the return of business travel with a new quarterly tracking survey.
The first set of data from the Quarterly Business Travel Tracker revealed that business travel was returning. Research found that 84% of business travelers expect to take at least one trip to attend a conference, convention or trade show in the next six months.
There are two main barriers to returning business travel, the survey reveals.
The Quarterly Business Travel Tracker also found that while less than 1 in 10 American business travelers don’t know if they will be traveling in the next six months, the main reason for the uncertainty is that meetings and events do not take place. Company policies restricting business travel were the second most important reason for uncertainty.
The release of the survey results coincided with Global Meetings Industry Day (GMID) on April 7, 2022. The day highlights the positive impact of business meetings, trade shows, incentive trips , exhibitions, conferences and conventions on people, business and the economy.
“The return to in-person meetings and events – and business travel in general – is a welcome sight after more than two years of pandemic-related uncertainty,” said the President and CEO of the US. Travel Association, Roger Dow. “There’s simply no substitute for a face-to-face meeting, which has been shown to lead to more successful business opportunities and can help fuel economic recovery and jobs in communities across America. .”
Business travel appears to be slowly rebounding.
US Travel forecasts business travel spending was still down 60% from pre-pandemic levels in 2021, latest data from the Quarterly Business Travel Tracker shows a clear shift in the desire of business travelers Americans to return to in-person meetings.
Forty-seven percent of business travelers surveyed said that business travel that fosters the development of relationships with customers and suppliers is critical to their work performance.
Twenty-three percent said it was essential to closing sales and 26% said it helped raise awareness of an organization’s products and services.
Twenty-three percent also said business travel was important for professional development, and 18 percent said it was good for engagement and motivation. Sixteen percent said business travel helped them better understand current trends.
“While the data indicates a strong desire among American business travelers to get back on the road, there is a big difference between wanting to travel and actually taking a trip,” Dow said. “Business leaders should seize the competitive advantage, budget for business travel, and encourage their teams to get back on the road and reestablish those personal connections that only come with face-to-face interactions.”
The Quarterly Business Travel Tracker also presents a forward-looking index for business travel, which indicates that business travel activity slowed somewhat in the first quarter of 2022, but business conditions for travel, such as GDP and business investment, are quite favourable, reaching an index of 105 for the second quarter of 2022. (2019=100).
“In-person conferencing has significant relational and financial impacts for businesses,” said Andrea Stokes, hospitality practice leader at JD Power. “Nearly half of survey respondents indicated that conferences, conventions and trade shows are essential for developing relationships with customers, suppliers or others. Nearly one in four respondents indicated that these events are essential to closing sales. »
US Travel has offered policies that could restore business travel, suggesting that Congress pass policies to help revive business travel spending at restaurants and entertainment venues, while urging the Biden administration to remove remaining travel restrictions to facilitate a faster return to international business travel.