Business travel has been one of the hardest hit sectors of the industry during the global pandemic, with a new study of 1,400 regular business travelers showing 93% have reduced travel for work, by an average of 60% since the pandemic began (78% for over 55’s). But there are reasons for cautious optimism as 84% of business travelers confirm they would travel now if the correct safe travel measures are in place, rising to 87% for frequent flyers.
The desire to travel for work is driven by human factors, with travelers most missing ‘seeing customers and colleagues face-to-face’ and ‘sharing ideas at in-person meetings’, closely followed by social aspects like ‘sharing a meal’.
When it comes to rebuilding confidence, frequent travelers highlighted the following five safe travel measures from nine options. Suggesting that as the travel industry and governments across the world work together to implement new COVID-19 safe measures, priority should be given to information sharing, contactless payment technology and comprehensive medical insurance.
*Net importance score as indicated by frequent business travelers that took more than 15 trips in 2019
Interestingly, travelers prioritize information on health and travel restrictions as well as contactless payments over testing and vaccination certificates, suggesting they seek the tools to more safely manage their own trip and the associated risks. Business travelers are also sensitive to the economic environment, with 96% confirming they would be happy to adhere more closely to their company’s travel policy if it meant business travel could be justified.
Rudy Daniello, Executive Vice President Corporations, Amadeus commented: “Our findings show that travelers are eager to travel if the right safety measures are in place, which is hugely encouraging for the business travel industry. Whilst vaccination will take time, there are a range of steps corporations and travel companies can take now to protect and reassure travelers.”
Daniello continued: “New innovations in mobile payment and expense are coming online that allow travelers to pay contactlessly using their mobile, directly from the company bank account. This removes the need to touch payment terminals or handle paper receipts whilst expense reporting is automated in the background. Travelers can also access information relating to travel restrictions, COVID-19 prevalence and hygiene factors at the point of booking. While it may be difficult now, technological innovations can make business travel even better than it was in 2019.”
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