Business travel has been one of the industries hit hardest as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic—and it’s possible it has changed permanently as a result of it, according to research conducted by Censuswide in partnership with PromoLeaf.
Among its key findings, just under one-third (32 percent) of respondents said the lack of business travel had a negative impact on their business, but a slightly larger number (37 percent) said it had a positive impact. The remaining 31 percent said neither. Respondents who traveled most frequently (more than once a week) were more likely to say the change was positive (60 percent).
Just over 16 percent of respondents stated their business did not lose any revenue due to the lack of business travel and another 18 percent lost less than 10 percent of revenues. In contrast, 45 percent of respondents estimated their company has lost over 20 percent of revenue. Nearly 14 percent lost 40 percent or more.
With that said, 64 percent of business travelers said they enjoy their jobs less when they are not traveling, and nearly half (48 percent) are even considering a change in occupation. In fact, motivation, productivity and even the mental health of travelers has suffered due to the lack of business travel. It’s not surprising, then, that one of the things travelers miss the most is the human connections they make. Forty-five percent of respondents have missed 10 trips or more, and an average of seven connections per trip.
In addition to missing human connections, half (51 percent) said they missed exploring new places due to the lack of business travel. Other common responses were “bleisure” trips, time away from home or the desk, and face-to-face time with clients and colleagues.
Video calls have largely replaced business trips in 2020 and so far in 2021. According to the survey, 42 percent thought video was somewhat or very ineffective at replacing face-to-face meetings, while 44 percent felt they were somewhat or very effective. A pretty even split.