According to a survey entitled Back to Blue Skies carried out by American Express GBT, after a year in a pandemic, cabin fever is starting to kick in for corporate travellers.
Survey results revealed that nearly seven in ten – 69 per cent – of corporate travel decision makers in the United States believe that more remote work will lead to more business related travel.
“Our Back to Blue Skies report affirms this sentiment, suggesting that while some meetings are easily done virtually, others are much more valuable when they take place face-to-face,” said Gunther Bright, EVP, Global Commercial Services, American Express. “We expect many organizations will take a hybrid approach to doing business in the future, and we’ll continue to work to meet their needs as they return to business travel.”
Expedia Group Chairman Barry Diller passionately seconds this belief. He’s quoted in Skift saying of business travel deniers “they’re all dopes.”
The findings suggest the American workforce is yearning for in-person business connections after an extended period of remote work and monotony. According to the survey, 82 per cent of business travelers and 79 per cent of decision makers say the benefits of in-person meetings outweigh the convenience of virtual participation.
At the same time, the survey found that safety and security is still a top priority for business travellers, with 86 per cent responding saying that when it becomes safe, they are looking forward to getting back to business travel.
“As we’ve heard from clients and this survey confirmed, many corporate decision makers are looking for support on how they should evolve travel policies to drive employee confidence to get back to traveling for work,” said David Reimer, EVP, Global Clients and General Manager, American Express Global Business Travel.
85 per cent of survey respondents said they believe that if an employee travels for work, their organization is responsible for their well-being for the duration of their trip.
As a result, nearly three quarters of decision makers (73 per cent) are currently looking to revise their organization’s existing business travel policies to ensure employee safety. 78 per cent were reported saying their organization’s business travel policies will be different than they were prior to the pandemic.
The survey showed that 83 per cent of decision makers are optimistic that business travel will return to previous levels over the next two years.