The business travel sector is showing higher levels of optimism of late, according to new research by the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA). Domestic and essential business travel will likely resume first, especially with industry standardized health and safety standards.
To continue to understand the effects of the coronavirus’s on business travel, GBTA conducted its eighth poll among membership from June 9 – 14, 2020. GBTA received responses from 1,708 member companies throughout the world.
While business travel continues to stall, there are some signs companies are slowly resuming some business travel. The poll revealed that half (49 percent) of companies plan to resume domestic travel in the near future (one to three months) and one in five (22 percent) plan to resume all travel in that same time. The poll also found that a small uptick in the number of companies allowing some essential travel (44 percent compared to 37 percent in the previous GBTA poll released on May 20).
Small indications of recovery are also evident among suppliers, with more travel suppliers and travel management companies (TMCs) report seeing an increase in bookings. In fact, almost half (46 percent) of travel suppliers and TMCs report seeing an increase in their bookings in the past week, while one in four (40 percent) say their bookings have remained the same.
Supplier optimism regarding the industry’s path to recovery is also showing positive signs. Four in ten (40 percent) say they feel more optimistic than they were last week (compared to 28 percent who felt the same in the previous GBTA coronavirus poll). Half (50 percent) feel the same as they did last week, and only one in ten (10 percent) feel more pessimistic about the industry’s path to recovery than they felt a week ago.
Guidelines and standards are critically important across all verticals pertaining to the business travel industry. GBTA member companies overwhelmingly feel industry-wide COVID-19 guidelines or standards are very important or important. Almost all companies feel COVID-19 guidelines/standards are important for the airline (96 percent), hotel (96 percent), rental car (93 percent), ride sharing (93 percent), taxi (92 percent), chauffeured car (91 percent), meeting and event (91 percent) industries.
When asked about the impact of COVID-19 on the industry, most companies feel the business travel industry has experienced the worst in terms of canceled flights (86 percent), hotel operations suspension (78 percent), layoffs/furloughs (52 percent) and revenue impact (47 percent). However, one in three believe the worst is yet to come in terms of layoffs/furloughs (31 percent) and revenue loss (34 percent).