Following the easing of global COVID-19 restrictions, mentions in filings of ‘business travel’ per company across sectors rose 17% in 2021 and have risen a further 4% in 2022, suggesting that companies are looking at resuming business travel.
Zoom calls were quite frequent throughout 2020 and 2021 for sales, marketing, or other activities. A rise in mentions of business travel per company points at corporates looking to reinstate face-to-face meetings despite there still being a considerable number of COVID-19 cases across the globe.
In 2022, over 1,500 public companies discussed business travel. Many travel and tourism companies are optimistic about companies returning to work, as increased demand for business travel will help to shorten recovery timelines.
Airlines rapidly increased their Spring/Summer schedules for 2022, as vaccination programs displayed strong progress in many key markets for the travel industry, resulting in booking confidence increasing in 2021.
However, many airlines have found it difficult to hire, vet, and train new staff members to meet the unforeseen demand for international flights from travelers and are now having to cancel hundreds of flights.
Companies are discussing generating more sales leads via business travel and are confident in closing gaps that were opened during 2020 and 2021 when marketing activities or trade shows took a hit.
However, there are still other companies that are discussing cutbacks on travel. For example, internet company Baidu has commented on reducing its business travel due to COVID-19 restrictions.
Firms from sectors including financial services, retail, construction, and technology had the most mentions of business travel per company and are optimistic about resuming this form of travel in 2022. Some of these companies included PayPal, American Express, Microsoft and Vinci SA.
While optimism around business travel has grown in 2022, it is also important to note that many companies will continue to offer work from home options for employees and reduce budgets for business travel.
With uncertainties persisting due to the ongoing pandemic, companies are likely to look at business travel only when necessary.