'Never The Same': 4 Ways Corporate Travel Has Changed Since The COVID-19 Pandemic
Photo Credit: Getty Images

Photo Credit: Getty Images

'Never The Same': 4 Ways Corporate Travel Has Changed Since The COVID-19 Pandemic

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Bernadette Giacomazzo
Bernadette Giacomazzo Sep 21, 2021

In 2019, corporate travel was at an all-time high. But when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, everything changed. And, according to some travel industry experts, nothing will ever be the same again.

“Covid-19 has definitely taught people that some of the mad regular dashes across the Atlantic hither and thither aren’t necessary,” said Warren East, the CEO of Rolls-Royce Holdings Plc, to Bloomberg. “But when you peel back beyond that superficial analysis, you realize people were doing it because they thought it delivered real benefit to them.”

Ultimately, like everything else, corporate travel had to undergo an adjustment in order to “make it” in the brave new post-COVID-19 world. It’s already changed — some say for the better, and others say permanently — and it doesn’t look like anything will change back to the way it once was anytime soon. That said, that just might be for the better. If nothing else, it will save corporations some money — especially if they took a hit in their bottom line thanks to the pandemic — though some people may wonder if they’ll ever enjoy “the outside” again.

These are the four ways corporate travel has changed since the pandemic. It remains to be seen if things will, indeed, remain this way once the pandemic is over.

Many Events Became — and Will Remain — Remote

Katrina Wittkamp

According to Condé Nast Traveler, corporate events became remote during the pandemic — and they will remain as such thereafter. And that’s because many companies realized that corporate travel doesn’t bring the return on investment that they thought it would.

“Around 445 million business trips take place each year, valued at $251 billion (the GBTA puts that number closer to $345 billion annually for travel and meeting expenditures),” reports the outlet. “An Oxford Economics study found that each dollar invested in business travel can result in as much as $12.50 in revenue. Add it all up, and it’s a tremendous potential amount of money that corporations rely on to stay in business.”

Travel Budgets Remain Slashed — Some by as Much as 30 Percent

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Bloomberg reports that 38 percent of all companies plan to slash their travel budgets. And some companies claim that they will cut their budget by as much as 30 percent from 2019.

Employees Have Been Segmented

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An extensive Deloitte study reveals that corporate travelers are now segmented into four different groups — ranging from “will never travel” to “will definitely travel” — and companies may consider hiring them based on their flexibility in travel.

Airlines Are Becoming More Aggressive for Business

Gustavo Fring

“Delta CEO Ed Bastian said about 80% of the carrier’s large corporate clients have indicated that as much as 90% of their pre-Covid business travel will eventually return,” reports McKinsey’s. The outlet also confirms that unless, and until, corporate travel is back to where it needs to be, airlines will continue to be aggressive in pursuing new business — and will offer competitive rates to their clientele in order to get their business.

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