Global business travel is making its way back, even as the pandemic and other world events continue to challenge its return. In a recent poll from the Global Business Travel Association, more than four in five respondents (86 percent) from across the industry said they feel more optimistic than they did at the beginning of the year. Business travel bookings, the need to travel to do business and employee willingness to travel are all on the rise.
So does that mean business travel is getting “back to normal”? Travel for business is returning, but it will likely look different. Global business travel is in a phase of moving into the “next normal” and a more thoughtful, purposeful recovery. Here are just a few factors guiding its evolution.
① New ways of working emerged, creating new reasons for business travel. Some examples are digital nomads who can work from anywhere in the world, remote workers who used to be in the office daily but moved and now need to travel back to base periodically, and gatherings for remote teams to foster connection and culture.
② People’s priorities for their life and work as well as societal changes over the past two-plus years had an impact as well. Considerations of health and safety, well-being, work-life balance and diversity, equity and inclusion have now become an important part of the business travel agenda for companies and across the travel industry.
③ Sustainability and especially climate impact moved to the forefront. Multi-purpose business trips, carbon offsetting and “greener” meetings and events are just a few ways the industry embraces a more sustainable future to enable people to connect and conduct business while doing what is right for society and the planet.
Business travel is here to stay but it’s no longer just a transaction — it’s about making and strengthening connections, growing businesses, economies, careers and people. And companies, travel managers and travel suppliers are reimagining and planning how they need to adapt and serve for the next era of business travel and business travelers.
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