The survey also found that business travellers believe the impact of the pandemic has also been felt in their employers’ ability to develop business, serve clients and maintain business relationships. At the same time, business travellers report that they have personally missed travelling for work and leisure and are eager to get back on the road.
As businesses and families prepare for a return to a version of normality, US-headquartered Chubb says it wanted to gauge perceptions about the impact of the pandemic on travel. What was lost during this period of severely limited travel? How did it impact the effectiveness of business travellers and their employers? In a remote working environment, with few or no opportunities to travel, what worked and what didn’t?
The answers to these and other questions are important, says the insurers, as businesses make decisions about future travel budgets, return to office, and the new criteria for travelling to meet with clients.
The survey aimed to gauge the views of business travellers across the world and took in responses from participants in the US, Europe, Asia Pacific and Latin America.
Among the key findings of the survey:
- Globally, 80 per cent or more of business travellers believe they are missing something important when they cannot see body language or other visual clues that you can only get in an in-person meeting.
- Nearly three out of four business travellers (74 per cent) say they are less effective in their job due to the pandemic and severely limited travel opportunities. Areas that have been negatively impacted include client service and the ability to maintain relationships with clients and business partners.
- With the proper precautions, respondents are twice as likely to feel more comfortable travelling for business than for leisure.
- A clear majority of business travellers (69 per cent) expect that company travel budgets will be trimmed in a post-Covid world to reduce expenses.
- 75 per cent of business travellers are willing to pay more to keep the middle seat open when they fly.
- 87 per cent of business travellers have been personally concerned about contracting Covid during the pandemic, and take steps to protect themselves, including wearing masks and social distancing.
Commenting on the survey findings, Chubb’s Division President, International Accident and Health, John Thompson, said: “Our survey shows that business travellers are now paying closer attention to what travel insurance coverage they have before they take a trip. As Covid recedes as a barrier to travel, the importance of best-in-class travel medical coverage and employer duty of care are increasingly being recognised.”
UK insurer Collinson found similar results in its study of business travellers, which also showed that 73 per cent of business travellers worldwide say they will give higher priority to their mental wellbeing when travelling in the future. Let’s hope that as travel becomes safe again, business travellers will have increased mental wellbeing by being able to travel again and that businesses will receive a boost by being able to meet in-person.