ALEXANDRIA, Va. — Higher levels of optimism in the business-travel sector have started to appear, according to new research issued last week by the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA). Domestic and essential business travel will likely resume first, especially with industry standardized health-and-safety standards.
“For the first time since the start of the pandemic, supplier members are starting to see some uplift in bookings. This positive trend is supported by the slight increase in member companies looking to re-start travel in the short term (one to three). To continue this trend, there’s strong support from GBTA member companies who want consistent health-and-safety measures for every travel vertical. This is critical, and GBTA has been lobbying intensely on behalf of members. We’ve already seen great collaborative progress in the hotel and airline sectors,” says GBTA CEO Scott Solombrino.
To continue to understand the effects of the Coronavirus on business travel, GBTA conducted its eighth poll among membership from June 9 to 14, 2020. GBTA received responses from 1,708-member companies throughout the world. View the entire poll results here.
While business travel continues to stall, there are some signs companies are slowly resuming some business travel. The poll reveals half (49 per cent) of companies plan to resume domestic travel in the near future (one to three months) and one in five (22 per cent) plan to resume all travel in the next one to three months as well. Finally, the poll reveals a small uptick in the number of companies allowing some essential travel (44 per cent compared to 37 per cent in the previous GBTA poll released on May 20, 2020).
Small indications of recovery are also evident among suppliers, with more travel suppliers and travel-management companies (TMCs) reporting seeing an increase in bookings. In fact, almost half (46 per cent) of travel suppliers and TMCs report seeing an increase in their bookings in the past week, while one in four (40 per cent) say their bookings have remained the same.
Supplier optimism regarding the industry’s path to recovery is also showing positive signs. Four in 10 (40 per cent) say they feel more optimistic than they were last week (compared to 28 per cent who felt the same in the previous GBTA coronavirus poll). Half (50 per cent) feel the same as they did last week, and only one in 10 (10 per cent) feel more pessimistic about the industry’s path to recovery than they felt a week ago.
Guidelines and standards are critically important across all verticals pertaining to the business-travel industry. GBTA member companies overwhelmingly feel industry-wide COVID-19 guidelines or standards are very important or important. Almost all companies feel COVID-19 guidelines/standards are important for the airline (96 per cent), hotel (96 per cent), rental car (93 per cent), ride sharing (93 per cent), taxi (92 per cent), chauffeured car (91 per cent), meeting and event (91 per cent) industries.
When asked about the impact of COVID-19 on the industry, most companies feel the business-travel industry has experienced the worst in terms of cancelled flights (86 per cent), hotel operations suspension (78 per cent), layoffs/furloughs (52 per cent) and revenue impact (47 per cent). However, one in three believe the worst is yet to come in terms of layoffs/furloughs (31 per cent) and revenue loss (34 per cent).