Bloomberg Businessweek May 8th 2022 4:00 PM “Business Travel Rebounds as Execs Choose (Real) Face Time Over Zoom” “Companies are reporting more trips, proving doomsayers from the pandemic’s darkest days wrong” By Angus Whitley and Danny Lee
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Summary by 2244
Image from FT.COM
“American Express Global Business Travel Transactions” For the week ended March 26, 2022, as a share of 2019 levels.
US to Switzerland 66%, US to Australia 64%, US to EU 59%, US to UK 58%, US to Singapore 56%, Australia to Singapore 55%, US to South Korea 33%, US to Brazil 32%, US to Japan 19%, France to China 3%, US to China and Hong Kong 2%
As restrictions ease, executives are rediscovering “the commercial value of human contact” thus proving that “the pessimists [pontificating that business travel would not return in the Zoom era] ‘were wrong.’” Reportedly “technology, retail, government, and defense sectors are leading the recovery.”
Of course this is good news to airlines as business travel is more lucrative than coach and totaled $1 trillion in 2019. Hard to predict whether the increase will be sustained but “the Bloomberg World Airlines Index has climbed about 50% from a May 2020 low.” UAL says “business travel across the Atlantic already exceeds what it saw in 2019.” Some experts believe it will take an “additional two years for business travel to fully recover.”
As the data indicate travel to Asia is still heavily impacted, higher in South Korea and Japan but practically nil for the US or France travel to China.
There is a level of what is dubbed “Revenge Tourism” as pent up points from leisure travelers are being used to upgrade to business class or better. Some suggest, going forward, business travel will be limited to visits with a clear payoff leaving marginal meetings to videoconferencing.