For the first time in its 28-year history, the U.S. Travel Association has changed a policy on how it will report new data to clients and stakeholders because of fears that industry members were publishing inaccurate or misleading information about business travel trends within their industries as well as across various sectors of the economy overall, according to Joe Sclafani, CEO of JDPower who also serves as chairman for USTA’s Business Travel Board
With a new quarterly tracking poll, J.D. Power, the United States Travel Association, and Tourism Economics are following the comeback of business travel.
Business travel is on the rise, according to the first wave of data from the Quarterly Business Travel Tracker. According to the study, 84 percent of business travelers plan to attend at least one conference, convention, or trade fair in the next six months.
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According to the poll, there are two major roadblocks to the revival of business travel.
According to the Quarterly Business Travel Tracker, although fewer than one in ten U.S. business travelers are unsure whether they will travel in the next six months, the top cause for hesitation is the lack of meetings and events. Corporate regulations that limit business travel were the second most common source of concern.
The study findings were released on April 7, 2022, to coincide with Global Meetings Industry Day (GMID). Business meetings, trade fairs, incentive trips, exhibitions, conferences, and conventions all have a beneficial influence on individuals, companies, and the economy.
“After more than two years of pandemic-related uncertainty, the return of in-person meetings and events—and business travel in general—is a welcome sight,” said Roger Dow, president and CEO of the United States Travel Association. “There is just no alternative for a face-to-face encounter, which has been shown to lead to more successful business prospects and may help fuel an economic and employment revival in towns throughout the United States.”
Business travel seems to be steadily recovering.
According to U.S. Travel, business travel expenditure will be down 60% from pre-pandemic levels in 2021, however the newest data from the Quarterly Business Travel Tracker reveals a marked change in American business travelers’ willingness to return to in-person meetings.
According to 47% of business travelers polled, business travel that facilitates the development of connections with clients and suppliers is vital to their work success.
It was important for closing sales for 23% of respondents, and it helped raise awareness about an organization’s goods and services for 26%.
Business travel was also vital for professional growth for 23% of respondents, and 18% felt it was helpful for engagement and motivation for 18%. Business travel, according to sixteen percent of respondents, helped them get a better awareness of current trends.
“While the data shows that American business travelers want to go back on the road, there is a considerable difference between wanting to travel and actually doing so,” Dow added. “Corporate executives should take advantage of the competitive edge, fund for business travel, and urge their people to go back on the road and rebuild those human relationships that only face-to-face contacts can provide.”
The Quarterly Business Travel Tracker also includes a forward-looking Business Travel Index, which shows that although company travel activity slowed somewhat in Q1 2022, business conditions for travel, such as GDP and business investment, remain good, with an index of 105 for Q2 2022 (2019=100).
“In-person conferences have huge relational and financial implications on organizations,” said Andrea Stokes, J.D. Power’s Practice Lead for Hospitality. “Conferences, conventions, and trade exhibitions are important for creating connections with consumers, suppliers, and others, according to almost half of study respondents. “These events are crucial to closing sales,” said almost one-fourth of respondents.
U.S. Trip proposed initiatives to assist stimulate business travel spending in restaurants and entertainment venues, as well as encouraging the Biden administration to eliminate lingering travel restrictions to speed up the return to foreign business travel.