The Global Business Travel Association (GBTA), the world’s largest business travel association, reported on the findings from its 17th poll looking at the impact of the pandemic on the business travel industry.
Two-thirds of GBTA members and stakeholders (66%) believe implementing Digital Health Verification (also known as “vaccination passports” of “digital green certificates”) is a good policy, the majority of whom believe it will help employees safely resume business travel. The poll also finds a positive increase in optimism among members as the vaccine rollout ramps-up globally and the benefits of a vaccine start to take hold.
- 66% of GBTA members and stakeholders believe that implementing Digital Health Verification (also known as “vaccination passports”) to help open travel and reduce the need for mandatory quarantines is a good policy. Approximately one in ten are either indifferent (15%), think it is a bad policy (11%) or do not know (8%).
Respondents from Europe are more likely (72%) than those from North America (63%) to say issuing Digital Health Verification is a” good policy.”
- Among those who think Digital Health Verification is a “good policy,” most feel it will help employees safely resume business travel (77%) and is a quick and easy way to document people have been vaccinated (64%).
Among those who feel Digital Health Verification is a “bad policy,” their reasons center largely on privacy concerns (73%).
- Half (52%) of suppliers and travel management companies are more optimistic than last month about the industry’s path to recovery, compared to four in ten (44%) who feel the same as they did last month.
- Two-in-five (40%) report their bookings from corporate customers have increased from the previous poll, an increase of 21 percentage points from the February 2021 GBTA poll. Half (48%) of suppliers characterize their bookings from corporate customers as the same, with no change. Only one in ten report their bookings have decreased (7%) or are unsure (6%).
- A majority of GBTA members and stakeholders (84%) say they would be “very comfortable” or “comfortable” traveling for business after receiving the Covid-19 vaccination. Another one in ten (10%) are neutral or would be uncomfortable traveling for business (6%).
- GBTA members and stakeholders largely expect non-essential domestic business travel to resume in the second half of 2021. International non-essential business travel is expected to take longer and is not expected to largely resume until 2022.
- Almost all (92%) respondents expect to return to the office by the end of the year. GBTA members and stakeholders vary in terms of their expectations, as only seven percent report their workers are already in the office and one-in-ten (13%) expect workers to return to the office in the next 1-3 months. The biggest majority, four in ten (38%) anticipate workers returning to the office in the next 4-6 months. Just 8% expect workers will return to the office in more than 12 months
- Three-quarters (77%) GBTA members and stakeholders expect employees will commute to the office less frequently (once it opens) than they did before the pandemic. This compares to one-in-ten (12%) who expect employees will come into the office the same number of days as they did before the pandemic.
- Among those who expect employees will spend fewer days in the office (if not entirely remote), expectations for the resumption of domestic business travel vary as the recovery evolves. Six in ten (61%) expect there will be less domestic business travel during this time, while one in four (27%) expect the same amount of domestic business travel. Less than one in ten expect more domestic business travel (6%) or do not know (6%).
- Half (49%) of GBTA members and stakeholders cite government policies that restrict travel or make it difficult (e.g., entry restrictions or mandatory quarantines) as the greatest barrier to business travel. One in four (25%) cite company policies and one in ten cite employee unwillingness/reluctance to travel (11%) or travel budget freeze/cost (10%).
Respondents in Europe (68%) are more likely than those in North America (43%) to say government policies are the largest barrier to business travel.
“As momentum for the Digital Health Verification gathers pace, so does optimism for a safe return to business travel” said Suzanne Neufang, CEO, GBTA, adding, “We are continuing our advocacy efforts in Washington, Brussels and London to lobby for a consistent approach to re-open borders and safely allow business travel to resume. It is encouraging to see GBTA members feeling comfortable to travel after receiving the vaccine, and that the global vaccine roll-out continues to accelerate.”
GBTA conducted a poll of its members across the globe from March 8-14, 2021. A total of 680 responses were received.