Business travel recovery continues to be hampered by government restrictions, policy inconsistencies and new variants according to a study.
In its latest poll the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) revealed optimism from the travel management community despite the challenges however.
It said that about 75 per cent of travel managers believe business travel volume will be “much or somewhat higher” this year while 12 per cent believe it will be about the same as 2021.
Travel suppliers and travel management companies are also hopeful of revenue increases in 2022 with three-in-four expecting company revenue to be much or somewhat higher this year.
Despite the expectation around increased revenue many are worried about Omicron’s impact. The poll revealed that seven-in-ten reported “very negative” or “moderately negative” impact on revenue from business travel.
Research results also revealed a decline in the percentage of companies which continue to suspend or cancel business travel. The poll revealed that 68 per cent have not yet opened international travel compared to 79 per cent in the GBTA’s October poll.
Suzanne Neufang, CEO, GBTA, said: “Here at the start of a new year, the business travel industry and business travellers continue to face a dynamically changing landscape due to Omicron. One comment received from a poll respondent readily sums it up: ‘Uncertainty is a huge wet blanket on [business] travel.’ Despite the wave of Omicron and the ripple of challenges it has created, there are positive signs, and industry professionals continue to be optimistic for the long-term outlook of global business travel.”
Respondents named government policies as the single biggest barrier to business travel. UK-based travel managers, (66 per cent) and managers based in Europe, (62 per cent), were more likely than their American counterparts to name government restrictions as the biggest barrier. US-based travel managers were more likely to cite company policy restricting travel as the biggest barrier.
Travel managers believe employees are willing to travel despite the Omicron variant. The research revealed 64 per cent feel employees are “willing or very willing” to travel for business. The finding is down from the 78 per cent figure revealed in the October poll.