On average, travel managers estimated their company’s domestic business travel volume is back to...

On average, travel managers estimated their company’s domestic business travel volume is back to 63% of their 2019 pre-pandemic levels, according to a recent GBTA poll.

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The Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) has released its October 2022 Business Travel Recovery Poll from a survey of almost 600 business travel buyers, suppliers, and other stakeholders worldwide.

“We continue to see progress as business travel makes its way back to being a $1.4 trillion global industry, pre-pandemic,” said Suzanne Neufang, CEO of GBTA. “It is also important to understand the context of global business travel’s recovery. Asia is still opening its borders, international business travel in general started picking up only earlier this year across the globe, and the U.S. has only permitted unrestricted travel since June. Even as this latest poll shows economic considerations have eclipsed COVID-19 concerns, the industry is showing positive indicators and sentiment for 2023, a strong sign as business travel continues to come back over time.”

Here are some of the key takeaways from the latest GBTA poll: 

  • Business travel volume continues to rebound when tracking recovery to 2019 pre-pandemic levels.

On average, travel managers estimated their company’s domestic business travel volume is back to 63% and international business travel is back to 50% of their 2019 pre-pandemic levels. Additionally, 26% of respondents estimated their international business travel volume has recovered to more than 70% of their company’s pre-pandemic levels.

  • Economic considerations have eclipsed COVID concerns for the industry, but many companies are not limiting their business travel specifically due to economic concerns.

When asked to choose among factors that are more likely to limit business travel next year, 80% of travel suppliers said economic conditions while only 4% cited COVID-19.

However, 75% of travel buyers said their company had no immediate plans to limit business travel because of economic concerns. One-third (30%) said their company is unlikely to limit business travel, while 45% said they are taking a wait-and-see approach but are not seriously considering limiting business travel at this point due to economic concerns. 

  • Domestic travel recovery remains in the lead in terms of recovery, but international travel is closing the gap

Currently, 86% of survey respondents said non-essential domestic business travel is sometimes or usually allowed at their company. Additionally, 74% responded the same for non-essential international business travel.

  • Business travel respondents expect more recovery and growth for 2023 compared to this year.

Over three-fourths (78%) of travel managers expect the number of business trips taken by employees at their company will be higher or much higher in 2023 versus 2022.  

Among travel suppliers, 85% predict the number of bookings by corporate clients will be higher or much higher in 2023. Additionally, 80% of suppliers expect travel spending by corporate clients will be higher or much higher in 2023 year over year.

Over 65% of travel managers said they are optimistic that their company will conduct more internal travel and external travel. Internal travel was defined as meetings with colleagues or working at other company office locations, while external travel examples are trips for sales meetings and conference travel.

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