The business travel industry continues to report a general desire and optimism for the return of business travel. However, the rise of the Delta variant and other variants has become a cause of increased uncertainty and concern over the past month, according to the latest. survey of the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA).
This poll is the 22nd in a series that has followed the pulse of GBTA members of travel buyers, suppliers and other stakeholders around the world on how the business travel industry as a whole manages the return to travel after the pandemic. The survey also included questions about the Delta variant and other variants and their potential impact on business travel.
“Business travel continues to grow and shows small gains on the road to recovery,” said Suzanne Neufang, CEO of GBTA. “The Delta variant introduced a little detour, at least in the short term. With the support of adequate risk mitigation, travelers continue to resume their activities during a pandemic that is not going away as quickly as hoped. The industry continues to be resilient, adaptable and determined to move forward on safe and responsible business travel for employees and businesses around the world.
Business travel recovery indicators
- In the August survey, seven in ten GBTA travel buyers (72%) rated their employees as “willing” or “very willing” to travel for business in the current environment (fairly consistent with 77% in July) . And non-essential domestic business travel continues to be permitted more frequently. In terms of travel in the past 30 days, 60% said it was “sometimes” or “generally” allowed.
- More than half of GBTA members and stakeholders said they expected business travel to experience a significant (8%) or moderate (47%) increase between September and November 2021.
- When travel buyers and procurement professionals were asked about how the company’s travel spending has changed from the previous month, more than half (56%) said their company’s spending had increased. increased “a little” to “a lot”.
- Survey respondents reported a slight increase in the reopening of international and domestic travel compared to the previous month. In the current poll, 78% had not opened international travel, up from 86% in July.
- Despite growing concerns about the Delta variant, only 21% of GBTA stakeholders say their company has introduced new restrictions on non-essential business travel at this point. Almost half (49%) said their business is unlikely to introduce new restrictions, while one in four (25%) plan to introduce new restrictions.
Progress in recovery of delta detours increased in July
- A third (34%) of suppliers and travel management companies surveyed said they were optimistic about the financial outlook for companies in the business travel industry, but less compared to a month ago. Another in four (38%) said they felt “neither optimistic nor pessimistic,” however, one in four (26%) said they felt pessimistic about the industry’s financial outlook.
- GBTA stakeholders are ‘concerned’ or ‘very concerned’ about the revenue impact of the Delta variant for businesses in terms of business travel sector revenue (85%), employment / re-employment (79%) and business travel safety (78%). In terms of bookings, one in three (31%) reported a drop from the previous week, compared to 3% in the July poll.
- Eight travel buyers / procurement professionals who work for companies (who have yet to resume non-essential business travel) said their business would likely delay the resumption of domestic business travel (81%) and international (79%) non-essential. due to the Delta variant (and other variants).
Vaccination policies and employee safety protocols
- Almost half of those surveyed said vaccine requirements to perform key business functions are generally not required. About one in five said their company requires their employees to receive a COVID-19 vaccine to travel the country on business (21%), meet clients in person (22%), work in the office (20%), and attend at large meetings, conferences or events (22%).
- About one in four people said they were unsure of their company’s vaccine needs for travel to key business functions.
- Sixty-two percent in Europe were more likely than those in North America (49%) to say their company will not require employees to receive a COVID-19 vaccine before they can attend large meetings or events (more of 500 participants).
- Most respondents (79%) said their company had procedures in place for tracing contact if an employee was infected with COVID-19. Only one in five (21%) said their company did not have contact tracing procedures in place.