Business travel is heavily affected by the epidemic on a global scale. According to Globetrender and Business Traveler magazine survey results of more than 2,000 business customers around the world, public travel behavior has changed dramatically due to the epidemic.

Just over a tenth of companies have traveled during the crisis despite the restrictions, while nearly 50% are willing to travel now or expect to go later in the year. This shows that the business traveler is willing to return for business once the pandemic is under control.

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The impact of the pandemic on business travel

The number of business trips has plummeted due to the rapid spread of Covid-19. According to Globetrender's survey results, 89% of business travelers stop traveling when there are travel restrictions in their area. Only 11% have traveled when there were travel restrictions during the pandemic. This number is mainly (41%) senior managers, owners or partners. When the travel restriction was released, this figure increased to 17%, mainly for short or domestic business trips.

Most people will not travel if they have to quarantine and will take the Covid-19 test to avoid quarantine. 91% of people surveyed were less likely to travel if they had to quarantine at their destination. 85% said they would consider not traveling if they had to quarantine when they returned home.

Health and safety are currently a major concern for business travelers, as important as the price when booking a trip. Before the Covid-19, only 5% of travelers rated health and safety as the most important factor when booking a trip compared with 40% during the pandemic.

Business traveler confidence

According to the survey results, 14% of respondents are completely confident about the ability to travel again. 34% are concerned but may go on business. 39% need to consider before deciding to go on business. 13% are not ready for business.

Travelers were also asked about factors that will motivate the decision to travel for business. In which, covid-19 vaccine is most concerned (80% of respondents). Business class or first class seats (75%) and hygiene on transport (74%) are the factors that are of great interest only after vaccines. 69% are more likely to travel for business to a destination with good health care. 63% will go to a destination they already know well and 61% will go to a destination with a "tourist corridor". 61% will travel if there are no new infections during their stay at the destination and 59% travel for business with a quick covid-19 test.

Surveys on the response of business travelers to safety measures showed that 77% would do a covid-19 test to avoid quarantine. 65% will take the antibody test to get a health certificate. 64% will wear a mask when traveling. 47% will choose direct flights rather than transfer routes. The survey also shows that traveler confidence by region has different levels. Guests in the UK and the US are more confident about starting to travel on business again than those from Australia and Asia.

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The future of virtual working and business travel

76% of respondents agree that being face to face with clients is preferable to remote working for sales meetings and pitching. 55% agree that remote working is not satisfactory for HR. 60% agree that the majority of deals and decisions cannot be made virtually. 70% agree that most meetings cannot be achieved more efficiently and concisely remotely. So, although day-to-day work can be done outside of the office, it doesn’t mean Zoom will be replacing business travel. However, the majority of respondents (67%) also agreed that remote working is a way to help kickstart carbon footprint reduction.

Trust will play a big part in rebuilding business travel confidence going forwards – trust in employer duty-of-care policies that they will be looked after if they get ill, and trust in hotels and airlines that they have sanitized interiors appropriately, which is why the vast majority of corporates will be sticking to familiar travel brands. 87% say they are more likely to stick with airlines they already know and trust. 80% say they are more likely to stick with hotel brands they know and trust in the future.

Budget and time for travel

Most people are confident about traveling back in the near future. 8% of respondents are ready to travel again. 39% expect to start traveling in 2020. 37% expect to start traveling in 2021. Only 5% will try not to travel for business going forward. However, the cost of the trip will be considered more carefully. 38% said travel budgets have remained stable. 31% said that the travel budget has been reduced. 31% said travel budgets have been severely or entirely cut.

View more at Globetrender report "The Future of Business Travel"

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