What does coronavirus mean for the future of business travel?

By April 1, 2020 No Comments

The world is in uncharted waters at the moment, and at the centre of everything is the travel industry. No one ever thought that they would see the day when the British government advised against all but essential international travel – to ALL destinations. It’s an unprecedented state of affairs, with whole airline fleets grounded and all travel plans put on hold.

In recent weeks, Travelworx has been busier than ever making sure that airline crews who were still flying could get where they needed to be under difficult circumstances. Whatever the future holds for business travel, we do know that when we all emerge from this situation, and are in a position to start travelling again, we will be there to pick up the pieces. If business travellers have to be more cautious about their plans in future and more prepared for change, then it will be even more important than ever to work with an expert business travel management service who can be trusted to look after your staff, to keep them safe and to adapt to change.

Global Business Travel Association March 2020 Coronavirus Poll

No one has a crystal ball to see what will happen in the future, and indeed even the experts appear to disagree about many factors, including the spread of the disease and the time factors involved. We were very encouraged, however, to see the latest business travel poll, which was conducted by US-based Global Business Travel Association. It conducted a lightning poll amongst its members, who are international corporate travel companies based throughout the world, from March 18th-21stand received responses from more than 1155 of them. According to this poll around 40% of GBTA members expect international business travel to resume within 3 months, and a further 17% expect it to resume within 6 months. 

Of course, it may be that those involved in global business travel are, like us, all confirmed optimists, or it could be that we know that travel is extremely resilient. 

Here are our predictions for future business travel trends, which will be informed by Coronavirus:

Technology will supplement not replace face-to-face meetings

In the current situation where many of us are on coronavirus lockdown we are all very grateful for the latest technology which allows us to work remotely, keep in touch with friends and family and shop online. For many people it’s been a steep learning curve as they adapt to a new virtual reality. At Travelworx, working online is nothing new to us – we’re used to keeping in touch with business travel clients wherever they are on the globe. If anything though, the current situation has confirmed to us the importance of the face-to-face meeting – yes, you can exchange information in a video call, but to build up personal relationships and to make deals nothing can replace the in-person meeting. 

Every trip will count

Even before the coronavirus pandemic, individuals and companies were becoming more aware of the environmental impact of frequent travel. The current situation is likely to have amplified this awareness. We don’t believe that business travel will stop, but we do believe that people and organisations will plan more carefully before travelling, to maximise the benefit of every trip. It is also likely to accelerate trends such as ‘bleisure’ travel with those travelling for work, seeking to combine business with a leisure stay to experience the destination before leaving. 

However and whenever the coronavirus lockdown is lifted, Travelworx will be ready and waiting to fulfil your corporate travel requirements, providing security, flexibility and expert knowledge whatever the circumstances.