June 15, 2024

GBTA polls show growing confidence but fears for future shocks

Positivity about the return of business travel has risen sharply in the last month, according to the latest GBTA poll released at its European Conference in Berlin this week.

But a delegate poll taken at the end of the conference showed concerns for the impact of geo-political tensions, with the crisis deepening in Ukraine.

According to a member survey taken in February, 82% feel their employees are “willing” or “very willing” to travel for business in the current environment, compared to 64% in the January poll. 

Just over half (55%) said they will want to travel around the same amount as before the pandemic and 13% said they will want to travel more.

An additional third (30%) say they want to travel “somewhat or much less” than they did before the pandemic. 

Three in four (78%) supplier and TMC professionals surveyed currently feel optimistic about the business travel industry’s path to recovery, up from 54% who reported being optimistic in the January poll. 

On average, travel buyers say their company’s business travel bookings are at 33% of their pre-pandemic level, while travel suppliers report their business travel bookings are back to 42% compared to pre-pandemic levels. 

“We are entering into the next phase of global business travel – one of thoughtful recovery – and our recent research reflects that shift,” said Suzanne Neufang, CEO, GBTA.  

“The business travel industry is more optimistic about the path to recovery. The signs are there. With safety and health remaining at the forefront, we are moving into a more endemic way of managing the pandemic, step by step. And we’re defining and creating what will be needed for the ‘next normal’ in global business travel – for the industry, businesses, and travellers.” 

The poll on the last day of this week’s conference asked delegates what they think the next shock for the industry will be. Around half said geo-political tension, a quarter said a financial or economic crisis, and 19% said sustainability.

Only 5% believe the next shock will be a pandemic.