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Corporate America Business Travel Increasing

Business, Featured

Men and women in business attire walking with luggage through an airport. | Image by Yuri Arcurs

When the COVID pandemic forced companies to find alternative methods of operation, it changed the way business was conducted across multiple sectors. Though the implementation of remote work proved essential during the pandemic, enterprises are looking to resume in-person meetings, conferences, and thus, business travel.  

A recent resurgence in business travel has the hotel, conference center, and airline industries exalting. After 2 years of minimal travel, an increase in potential revenue is gladly welcomed.  

Travel companies are experiencing a stark increase in sales from business corporations over the past month. Campbell Travel, an expense-management company, reported a 16% increase in corporate-related travel from January to March

According to Investopedia, airlines receive as much as 75% of their revenue from business travelers. While the airline industry reported a drastic drop — as much as 96% — during the beginning of the pandemic, airlines are now focusing on catering to the business class to help boost travel incentives.    

According to The Wall Street Journal, the uptick in travel is due to small and medium-sized businesses looking to make new connections with potential clients or vendors.

BCD Travel surveyed 738 business travelers to understand if professionals still found business-related travel necessary. Of the people surveyed, three-quarters reported that business travel offered an irreplaceable opportunity to connect with clients, co-workers, and business partners. Those surveyed noted that specific types of meetings are best had in person and cannot be emulated over a screen.  

While the increase in business travel is good news, many doubt it will ever return to its previous peak.

Matthew Parsons, who writes a weekly feature for Skift called “Future of Work Briefings,” noted that the bigger the business, the less likely they are to allow for frivolous travel due to a business’s ability to thrive without it.     

The Morning Consult defined the reshaping of the business travel industry, positing that remote work has prompted a blending of work and recreation on business trips, dubbed “workcations” or “leisure.”  This mindset drives the idea that a 1-day work trip can be extended into a vacation, encouraging consumers to travel.  

Conventions and conferences — coming back in full force in 2022 — are typically held in high tourism areas, allowing for that hybrid mix of business and pleasure. BizBash commented on attendees’ desire to get back to doing business face-to-face. However, it is not lost on event coordinators that businesses are still picky about travel.  

The side effect of travel growth is a demand-driven price increase in airline flights, hotels, and rental cars.  

For instance, hotels upcharge room rates if a nearby conference center or hotel hosts an event.

The founder of JSF Financial, Jeff Fishman, described his experience with the raised rates to the WSJ. The price of his usual hotel in Phoenix, where he visits clients, increased from $300-$400 a night to $1,100 on one occasion due to a medical conference held at the same hotel.     

According to USA Today, flight prices are also expected to increase due to rising fuel prices and the surge of travelers booking flights. 

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