Business travellers are becoming less comfortable with resuming travel, according to a new survey from US-based industry advocacy group Travel Again. Travel Again surveyed 267 US-based travellers from 17 to 19 November, 51 per cent of whom said they were business travellers.
About 39 per cent of respondents said they would travel domestically in the next 90 days if asked by their company, a drop from 53 per cent in October. With regards to travelling internationally during that same timeframe, 25 per cent in November reported they would, a fall from 31 per cent in October.
When Travel Again asked business travellers to select options that would increase their confidence in travelling, mask requirements and frequent cleaning were the most frequently selected, at 84 per cent and 83 per cent respectively. Travellers were not specifically asked if the vaccines had increased their confidence.
Intra-company business travel will decrease
Another report estimates that intra-company business trips will decrease by up to 60 per cent when the Covid pandemic finally comes to an end. It says that such trips account for 20 per cent of all air trips at present. While intra-company trips may be permanently reduced, other types of trip look set to recover, with only modest losses. The findings show that a quarter of all trips are for sales activity and securing clients. It forecasts that such trips will be down by anywhere between zero and 20 per cent.
The report, The Journey Ahead: How the Pandemic and Technology Will Change Airline Business Travel, from IdeaWorks argues that the current downturn in business travel will be different from other sharp shocks, such as 9/11.
UK exempts business travel from quarantine
In the UK, a new ‘business traveller’ exemption from quarantine has been announced. From 5 December, people in a number of categories will no longer have to self-isolate upon returning to England, even if they are travelling from a country that is not on the travel corridors list. These include ‘high value’ business travellers, certain performing arts professionals, TV production staff, journalists and recently signed elite sports professionals.
Perhaps this new rule will provide opportunities for increased revenue for the travel industry – vendors and agents will likely be able to push ‘higher value’ hotels, resort options and travel assistance packages to these ‘high value’ business travellers.
In June, Safeture’s data insights suggested that business travel, while still not as popular as it was before the pandemic hit, had doubled since mid-April.