The business trip is heading for a slow but steady climb


Companies review when and why employees should travel, with a commitment to workplace flexibility, sustainability and return on investment

NEW YORK, April 18, 2022 / PRNewswire / –

Key things

  • Corporate travel has not met the expectations of most companies in the second half of 2021, as the Delta and Omicron variants hampered plans. While one – third of travel managers researched in June 2021 They are expected to reach half of the expenditure in 2019 by the end of the year, with only 8% reaching this limit.
  • Mission expenses are at least two years after reaching the pre-pandemic level: It is expected to reach 36% of 2019 levels in the second quarter of 2022 and 55% by the end of the year.
  • Increase in the offer of companies flexible working conditions will have a lasting impact on missions. One quarter of companies say that working from home will lead to more travel to headquarters, but is likely to result in less travel overall. Companies with a dominant position in the offices are twice as likely to reach the level of travel expenses in 2019 by the end of 2023.
  • In the case of international travel, 1 in 4 respondents expect frequency of travel to Europe approach or exceed the pre-pandemic level this year. Asia a Latin America they fall far short of expectations of recovery.
  • Three out of 10 companies expect this sustainability targets that will lead to a reduction in travel budgets of 11-25%. by 2025.
  • While personal participation is on the rise, conferences and events await another challenging year. These events offer valuable networking opportunities, but are also evaluated by travel managers content delivery depends more on personal involvement as in 2021.

Why it matters

Although COVID-19 health concerns and travel restrictions are easing, corporate travel is facing a difficult forecast. Many companies are currently implementing office return plans that they postponed last fall, and this shift is likely to be accompanied by an increase in corporate travel. However, according to a new Deloitte report,Reshaping the Landscape: Corporate Travel in 2022 and beyond“, A recovery in spending to the level of 2019 is not expected this year or next. While uncertainty about international relations and other variants of COVID-19 will continue to affect corporate travel, the extent to why and when employees are expected to travel for work is becoming clearer. .

The study is based on a survey of 150 executives in the US who oversee the travel budget between 10 and 18 February 2022.

Business travel will begin in 2022, but returns before the pandemic are delayed

Deloitte conducted its first corporate tourism survey, incl June 2021, when the recovery seemed to be in line with the office return plans originally set for the fall. However, as Delta was designated a variant of the group a month later, many large companies postponed their initiatives. Many of these same companies are now rethinking their overall approach to travel and leading tour managers to lower their expectations, looking for opportunities to further increase financial savings and environmentally friendly practices implemented during two years of limited travel.

  • One third (34%) of business travel managers in the survey June 2021 they are expected to reach half of their travel expenditure in 2019 by the end of 2021; however, only 8% reached this milestone.
  • While 17% of travel managers expect a full recovery by the end of 2022, this is a significant decline from 54%, who expected the same last summer.
  • Overall, strong growth is expected in 2022, but corporate travel spending is not expected to reach pre-pandemic levels this year or next. Travel spending is expected to reach 36% of the 2019 level by the end of the second quarter of 2022, rising to 55% by the end of the year and 68% by the end of 2023.
  • The COVID-19 variants are the main consideration for this downward revision: Two thirds of respondents (66%) say that the Delta and Omicron variants have caused the travel schedules to be pushed back; 1 in 7 (15%) reported a significant reassessment.
  • Travel restrictions and staff reluctance to travel remain the biggest obstacles to full return; however, the impact of each is 18% lower than in 2021. Concerns about rising travel prices remain a persistent problem, but have increased only slightly (1%) compared to 2021.
  • The return of live industrial events is now one of the five main reasons for business travel. Considering business triggers remains a consistently low infection rate in the first place, followed by clients and employees returning to the office and easing quarantine requirements.

International travel is ready for a slow return

Despite easing restrictions for some destinations, international business travel still presents many challenges, including testing requirements, quarantine and generally unpredictable regulations. Among respondents, international travel accounts for a quarter of spending in 2019, and projections remain more conservative than domestic travel. Geopolitical developments may further limit plans for international travel, in particular to Europe.

  • More than half (54%) of respondents expect international travel Europe to recover but remain below pre-pandemic levels.
  • Business visits (43%), management meetings (32%) and project work with clients (31%) are the main drivers of international business travel.
  • Europe lead destinations for US-based travelers, with almost 1 in 4 companies (24%) saying the frequency will approach or exceed pre-pandemic levels by the end of 2022, followed by Asia (15%) a Latin America (12%).
  • More than half of the companies have reasons to visit Africa (70%), Middle East (54%) resp AustraliaOceania (52%) expects no or very little travel to these regions this year.

Key quote

“Last summer, business travel seemed ready to go, but the emergence of COVID-19 variants quickly grounded the plans – as a result, leaders are more conservative in their business travel recovery estimates. While many of us want to see our co-workers – employees, clients and co-workers in person, technology platforms have allowed most businesses not only to continue their operations remotely but also to prosper. Combined with a flexibility of the workplace that shows no signs of disappearance, companies are reviewing and setting new priorities when and why employees travel – which can create an organization full of new opportunities for development and growth. ”

Mike thereforeVice President, Deloitte LLP and uncertified leader in transportation, hospitality and services in the United States

Workplace flexibility drives changes in business travel

Many employers have implemented flexible workplace policies over the past two years, and travel managers expect the future rate of work from home to be 2.5 times higher than before the pandemic. This will continue to affect how and when employees travel to companies with a dominant position at work (where the average employee comes to the office zero to two days a week in the second quarter of 2022), as well as to companies with a dominant position in the office (where the average employee comes to the office at least three days a week in the 2nd quarter of 2022).

  • In the case of companies that predominate in domestic work in the second quarter of 2022, 36% expect their business travel expenses to return to pre-pandemic levels by the end of 2023.
  • On the contrary, 71% of companies with a dominant position in the offices claim that their travel expenses will resume by the end of 2023.
  • Due to flexible working conditions, 1 in 4 respondents expect more trips to the company’s headquarters, despite less frequent travel overall.
  • For employees who moved during a pandemic, two-thirds of companies reimburse trips to headquarters. However, almost one third (29%) of companies leave employees to bear the costs themselves.
  • In addition, private leases, which during the pandemic offered passengers more space to distance themselves from others, did not become the mainstay of corporate travel programs. Only 1 in 10 companies include non-traditional accommodation in their corporate booking tools, and approximately half (49%) of companies do not reimburse off-site accommodation to employees.

Sustainability and costs lead to decisions about when to travel

The sharp decline in corporate travel during the pandemic has helped companies make significant gains towards their sustainability goals – and their end result. As a result, when determining which journeys employees should take, business leaders consider the costs and associated carbon emissions, along with the ability of technology to replace the need for a face-to-face meeting.

  • One third of the travel managers surveyed (35%) say that their companies have committed to reducing carbon emissions by a specific amount over a period of time, which will affect when and how employees travel.
  • Most respondents expect sustainability to reduce their travel spending by 10% or less in 2025. However, almost 3 out of 10 expect a reduction of 11-25%.
  • The increase in fares increased slightly between 2021 and 2022. Almost 3 out of 4 companies say they will try to control costs by limiting the number of trips this year.
  • Nearly 1 in 3 tourism providers are looking for advice from travel agency companies on how to reduce their carbon footprint. In addition, one quarter of travel managers say they will prefer travel suppliers who invest in sustainability.

Key quote

“As the pandemic situation continues to improve, business leaders need to consider new factors in determining which paths justify the time, cost, and carbon emissions required. Technology platforms will continue to address the need for some paths long after the public health crisis has subsided. “

Eileen CrowleyVice President, Deloitte & Touche LLP and USA, in the areas of transportation, hospitality and services

Connect with us on Twitter at @DeloitteCB or on LinkedIn: @MikeDaher a @EileenCrowley.

About Deloitte

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SOURCE Deloitte

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