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Business Travel Surging

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Worldwide business travel spending is expected to jump more than 37% this year to more than $1 trillion. While this sounds great, it will only get better from here. According to the Global Business Travel Association’s new forecast, business travel will not fully recover until 2024.

Surges in the Omicron variant, combined with slow vaccination rates and supply chain problems have continued to hamper the full recovery. The pace of business travel recovery is crucial for airlines, hotels, ground transportation companies, and meeting space facilities that continue to struggle to achieve profitability. These industries rely heavily on business travelers who are likely to spend more money than consumer vacationers or at least with less concern.

The pandemic caused business travel spending to fall 54% in 2020. It dropped down to $661 billion on a worldwide basis. In 2019, business travelers spent $1.4 trillion before the pandemic arrived. The numbers clearly show that business travel is now surging forward, and the business travel industry collectively is on track to rebuild.

What’s Next

As we continue to adapt to changes caused by the pandemic, we can expect more contactless processes. We can expect to be asked to show our vaccination records and there will likely be enhancements to provide that document on a digital platform when required to show it. Other technological advancements are emerging that just might become part of the new “normal” including the development of breathalyzers that detect virus particles within air droplets. The verification of vaccination status and/or the use of a breathalyzer may become a procedure used within hotels and other types of travel destinations to safeguard current guests and hotel staff.

Hotel Changes

Hotels have done a great job to adapt to a contactless environment. If you haven’t stayed in a hotel recently, you can expect to check-in and out digitally using your cell phone. Your phone will also unlock your room. Room service menus have been replaced with a QR code that connects you to the hotel room service, eliminating phone calls to place an order. This provides faster, more convenient, and personalized service.

Ground Transportation Changes

The ground transportation industry is made up of limousine service providers, black-car services, charter buses, taxis, ride-share companies, and rental cars. Each has made significant investments in technology, cleaning procedures, health awareness training, and sanitization between passengers. The luxury transportation industry in particular has made extreme efforts to protect their business traveler passengers. This includes the implementation of electrostatic sprayer disinfection, the installation of plexiglass screens, and adding amenities such as hand wipes for every passenger and complimentary masks.