Although business travel still lags behind pre-pandemic levels, a survey from the Global Business Travel Association shows expectations of a rebound in 2023, with 78% of travel managers anticipating that their companies will take more business trips in the new year and 85% of business-travel bookers estimating there will be more overall bookings. Domestic business travel is at 63% of levels seen before COVID-19, and international trips are at 50% of prior totals, the study found.
“We continue to see progress as business travel makes its way back to being a $1.4 trillion global industry, pre-pandemic,” said Suzanne Neufang, CEO, GBTA.
The survey finds that the coronavirus pandemic is receding as a factor impacting travel, with most travel suppliers citing economic conditions as the factor that may limit business travel next year, though 75% of travel buyers say that there are no plans currently to limit travel due to the economy.
The majority of respondents confirmed hybrid or fully remote working models for their companies, with 72% of respondents saying that remote work would not change the number of business trips taken by employees and 14% believing that remote work arrangements would increase the number of business trips taken.
At the same time, travel managers reported an uptick in requests for blended travel that include both work and leisure activities or some vacation time. Hybrid and remote work arrangements may encourage travel, as many respondents confirmed that their companies allow employees to live outside of their home base for extended periods, even including international locations while continuing to work remotely.
Twenty-seven percent of respondents say reimbursements for remote working expenses are available at their company, while 42% say these reimbursements are not offered.
When it comes to international travel, 74% of respondents confirmed that non-essential international trips are permitted by their companies.
“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,” added Neufang.
“Even as this latest poll shows economic considerations have eclipsed COVID-19 concerns, the industry is showing positive indicators and sentiment for 2023, a strong sign as business travel continues to come back over time,” she said.
The October 2022 Business Travel Recovery Poll marks the 29th survey in the GBTA series. This poll included GBTA members, travel buyers and suppliers worldwide, with results based on 594 responses.
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