GBTA Survey: Travelers Willing, Suppliers Optimistic

Many business travel processes are returning to normal as employees prepare to hit the road, and travel suppliers remain optimism that Covid-19 is a declining factor in travel demand, according to a new Global Business Travel Association survey, released late last week.

The share of 222 member travel managers and procurement professionals surveyed June 7-17 by GBTA who indicated their travelers were “willing” or “very willing” to travel for business was 89 percent, up from 82 percent in April. That’s a high-water mark for that figure in this survey, which GBTA has conducted regularly during the pandemic.

Similarly, suppliers surveyed generally expressed a sunny outlook about business travel’s future. About 88 percent of 225 member airline, hotel chain, hotel property, travel management company or ground transportation company representatives indicated they were “very optimism” or “optimistic” about “the business travel industry’s path to recovery,” up from 86 percent in April . About 84 percent indicated their bookings in the prior week had increased from the week before, and 5 percent said they had decreased.

Still, Covid-19 remains a factor in business travel decision-making as it continues to spread, though most restrictions by now have been dropped. About 65 percent of the entire survey responding base—buyers and suppliers together—indicated that their organizations have a process in which travelers who are uncomfortable due to Covid-19 can request to opt out of trips.

Of that group of respondents, 63 percent indicated such reluctant employees can opt out of any trip they aren’t comfortable with, while 31 percent indicated such requests are considered on a case-by-case basis. Another 4 percent have developed specific criteria under which it is acceptable for employees to opt out of travel.

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