American Express Global Business Travel has seen transactions recover to 72 per cent of 2019 levels during the final three weeks of April in another sign of the “strong momentum” now driving the return of corporate travel.
The travel management company, which is due to start trading on the New York Stock Exchange on or around 31 May, released its financial results for the first quarter of 2022 on Tuesday (17 May) when it revealed a 179 per cent year-on-year rise in revenue to $350 million.
Although the company still recorded a net loss of $91 million for the quarter, compared with a loss of $114 million for the same period in 2021.
Paul Abbott, Amex GBT’s CEO, said they have reached “a pivotal moment in the business travel recovery”, which was being fuelled by companies returning to travel and the continued removal of Covid-related travel restrictions.
SMEs (small and mid-sized enterprises) are still leading the return to travel with their transactions reaching 80 per cent of 2019 levels in April.
“Smaller companies have generally been more agile and returned to travel more quickly. However, we are beginning to see a change and larger companies really accelerate. In April, global multinational recovery increased eight points versus the end of March,” said Abbott.
He added that the gap between the recovery of domestic business travel and international trips was also closing as border restrictions have been lifted.
“Now for the first time, as of that last three-week period in April, international recovery is actually at the same level as domestic recovery,” explained Abbott.
“We believe the momentum will continue to accelerate as more businesses continue to reopen offices and the additional Covid-19 related restrictions are removed.
“It’s very clear that customers definitely recognise the value of in-person meetings to grow their business, to strengthen relationships, to motivate and engage teams, to drive creativity and innovation.”
Abbott said that the move towards more flexible working would also increase the demand for business travel with these “distributed teams” having to come together to “collaborate, innovate, motivate and learn”.
“We are seeing this dynamic play out in our meetings and events business, where demand for smaller meetings has been particularly strong,” he added.