Trendspotting: While it’s hardly back to normal for business travelers, data suggests more are willing to hit the road when it’s worth it.
We were on the ground at Advertising Week NY in person recently, and while there were many attendees, it seemed that in-person attendance was far lower than pre-pandemic levels.
This got us thinking: Are business travel and conferences on the road to recovery?
What the data says: More people are getting the OK from their bosses to hit the road for conferences.
Two-thirds of professionals say employees are “sometimes” or “usually” allowed to travel—up from 57% in July, per an October 21 poll of the Global Business Travel Association’s 503 member companies.
With our on-the-ground coverage of Lisbon’s Web Summit this coming week, it’s interesting to note that in July, just 26% said employees were “sometimes” or “usually” allowed to travel internationally; that number increased to 42% in GBTA’s October survey.
For context, the GBTA has been polling members since February 2020 regarding COVID-19 and its impact on travel.
Non-pandemic factors: As brands are called on to be more transparent in their sustainability efforts, they’re looking at the role of business travel—including how restricting travel can help them meet their sustainability goals.
Plus, virtual and hybrid just isn’t the same: Business travel is coming back, in part, due to virtual events’ inability to capture the relative magic of in-person relationship-building.
BlueJeans and Forrester Consulting recently conducted a survey of 200 North America-based marketing event decision-makers and found:
Our take: One driver leading to increased interest in-person experiences: they’re higher fidelity. For many business professionals, travel is worth the additional expense—though they’re likely to be more selective about travel opportunities in 2022 than 2019.