Work Travel Expected to Remain Sluggish This Fall

New York, NY, September 8, 2021-The return to work isn’t happening as expected this fall, and the same is true for work travel, reports the Wall Street Journal.

The articles notes that, “companies are greenlighting trips for client meetings and closing deals, but internal gatherings and training are mostly staying virtual for now.”

“Business travel has remained stymied by the pandemic, even as people take to the skies in droves for vacations. Hopes for a rebound in business travel this fall have deflated with the spread of the Delta variant of Covid-19.

“And companies are trimming travel budgets for 2022, with this message for employees: Do you really need to go, or can the trip be a Zoom?

“‘Companies are re-evaluating and trying to understand where does travel make sense and where does it not make sense,’ says Anthony Jackson, U.S. airlines leader at auditing and consulting firm Deloitte LLP. ‘Technology will change behavior and how companies will do their jobs.’

“To be sure, some road warriors have returned to airplanes, hotels and long lines for airport coffee, although most aren’t making trips as frequently as before and few are traveling internationally on business. Others are champing at the bit to visit clients, return to trade shows and conventions or just see colleagues in different offices.

“One big problem is that many aren’t in offices. As companies delay reopening offices, clients and colleagues are scattered working remotely. And the other big issue for business travel is the efficiency of virtual meetings. Face-to-face is definitely better in many business settings, but in others, video calls work very well.

“There’s increasing evidence that a fair amount of business travel will be permanently curbed by technology. Video calls don’t require hours of waiting in airports, sitting on cramped airplanes or nights away from family.

“‘We learned the value of our time in many ways’ during the pandemic, says Jennifer Wilson-Buttigieg, co-president of Valerie Wilson Travel, a unit of Frosch International Travel. Leisure bookings are 5% ahead of 2019 at her New York-based company but corporate business is still down 60%.”