Vast Majority of Business Travelers Expect to Hit the Road : Business Traveler USA

Survey finds 84 percent say they will probably attend at least one conference, convention or trade show in the next six months

A large majority of business travelers say they expect to take at least one business trip in the next six months, according to the latest Quarterly Business Travel Tracker. The survey of more than 2,400 US business travelers found 84 percent of respondents are likely to travel to attend conferences, conventions or trade shows.

The new survey, from J.D. Power, US Travel Association and Tourism Economics, reveals that fewer than one in 10 business travelers say they are uncertain about travel plans in the next six months.

However the top reason travelers are uncertain was that meetings and events are not being held. The second most common reason was corporate policies that restrict business travel.

The survey results mirror similar findings in other recent research into the sentiments of business travelers. Earlier this month, an American Express Trendex survey of US business travelers found three in four say they are planning trips now through the fall. Among frequent business travelers, that number rises to more than four in five.

In March, the most recent Global Business Travel Association COVID-19 recover poll found business travel volume is expected to increase during the year ahead, with over two-thirds (68 percent) of respondents anticipating that in the future, they will want to travel about the same (55 percent) or more than (13 percent) they did before the pandemic.

In contrast, something less than one third (30 percent) say they want to travel “somewhat or much less” than they did before the pandemic.

Global Meetings Industry Day

The release of the US Travel Association’s Quarterly Business Travel Tracker results coincided with Global Meetings Industry Day on April 7, an initiative of the US Travel Association and the Meetings Mean Business Coalition.

The GMID spotlights the positive impact of business meetings, trade shows, incentive travel, exhibitions, conferences and conventions on people, businesses and the economy.

“The return of in-person meetings and events – and business travel in general – is a welcome sight after more than two years of pandemic-related uncertainty,” said U.S. Travel Association president and CEO Roger Dow. “There is simply no substitute for a face-to-face meeting, which is proven to lead to more fruitful business opportunities and can help power an economic and jobs recovery in communities across America.”

Business travelers also expect to resume traveling at a slightly slower pace compared to pre-pandemic levels, averaging about 1.6 trips per month (compared to 1.7 monthly trips pre-pandemic).

While US Travel forecasts that business travel spending in 2021 was still off 60 percent compared to pre-pandemic levels, the Quarterly Business Travel Tracker’s latest data shows a clear shift in American business travelers’ desire to return to in-person meetings.

The Business Travel Index, which is a current and forward-looking component of the Quarterly Business Travel Tracker, shows that although business travel activity slowed somewhat in Q1 2022, business conditions for travel such as GDP and business investment are still favorable.

As a result, the index for Q2 2022 rose to 105, using 2019 as a baseline of 100.

With the industry continuing to gain momentum, the US Travel Association is urging the Biden administration to remove remaining travel restrictions to facilitate a faster return to international business travel.

In addition, the association is calling on Congress to enact policies to help revive business travel spending in restaurants and entertainment venues.