• The Forecast is Sunny for Business Travel in 2023

    POSTED November 21, 2022
    Photo credit: Adobe Stock

We’re well past the halfway mark when it comes to business travel returning to pre-pandemic levels and the recovery will continue to gain strength in 2023. Those are the findings from a recent survey by the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA), a leading organization serving the business travel industry. 

“We continue to see progress as business travel makes its way back to being a $1.4 trillion global industry, pre-pandemic,” says Suzanne Neufang, GBTA’s CEO. She adds, “Even as this latest poll shows economic considerations have eclipsed COVID-19 concerns, the industry is showing positive indicators and sentiment for 2023, a strong sign as business travel continues to come back over time,” she says. 

The October 2022 Business Travel Recovery Poll included responses from just under 600 GBTA members, travel buyers, and suppliers. 

Here are some of the key takeaways from the poll.

Business travel volume continues to rebound when tracking recovery to 2019 pre-pandemic levels. On average, travel managers estimate their company’s domestic business travel volume is back to 63% of their 2019 pre-pandemic levels. 

Economic considerations have eclipsed COVID concerns for the industry, but a majority of companies are not limiting their business travel specifically out of economic concerns. Three out of four travel buyers surveyed say their company had no immediate plans to limit business travel because of economic concerns. One-third (30%) say their company is unlikely to limit business travel, while 45% say they are taking a wait-and-see approach but are not seriously considering limiting business travel at this point due to economic concerns.  

By a large majority, business travel respondents expect more recovery and growth for 2023 compared to 2022. Over three-fourths (78%) of travel managers expect the number of business trips taken by employees at their company will be higher or much higher in 2023 versus 2022.  Among travel suppliers, 85% expect the number of bookings by corporate clients will be higher or much higher in 2023. Additionally, 80% of suppliers expect travel spending by corporate clients will be higher or much higher in 2023 year over year. Over 65% of travel managers are optimistic that their company will conduct more internal travel and external travel.  Internal travel was defined as meetings with colleagues or working at other company office locations, while external travel examples are trips for sales meetings and conference travel. 

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