While economic considerations have eclipsed pandemic concerns, new data from the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) finds business travel is on the rise. Over three-fourths of travel managers surveyed for GBTA’s latest industry poll expect the number of business trips taken by employees at their company will be higher or much higher in 2023 versus 2022.
But, as I discussed with Tariro Mzezewa for her recent Conde Nast Traveler story, “Both employers and employees need to understand that business travel today is not like it was before the pandemic—and there is no going back.
“A lot of things can be done perhaps remotely still, but there are certain things that we do enjoy and that have more impact when we’re together, so we have to remember that there’s a purpose now to why you’re on the road, but we also have to accept that travel is different.”
Like all things work-related, it starts with the what – what do we need to get done and how, when and where we do it best. And that includes deciding when and why to travel for business.
“There’s going to be a transition period and it’s just going to be weird the first couple of times you do it and it’s important that we let each other be in the weird. Recognizing some of the less positive aspects of all this right now and doing what you can as an employer to help support that transition, recognizing there’s good stuff that’s going to come from this, but there are some real things that need to be facilitated and supported as we transition through to what’s going to be next.”
Currently, those surveyed by GBTA don’t expect flexible work to significantly change business travel plans. Nearly 90% of respondents are offering some form of hybrid/remote work. But among them, 72% do not expect that flexibility will impact the number of business trips taken by their employees. And, while 14% expect it will lead to more business travel, an identical percent expect it will lead to less. We will see.
In the meantime, have you traveled for business recently? If yes, what was it like? For me, travel is starting to pick up again, and I do love it. But there is a definite purpose to it and more time, on either end, to allow for airline delays or cancellations. I continue to adapt and ease my way back in, enjoying what’s familiar and letting go of what’s less than optimal.