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    Business travel will be back, predicts Business Travel Show Europe

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    New research from Business Travel Show Europe (30 September – 1 October at ExCeL, London, plus online content and networking) has revealed that business travel is on its way back and, for some organisations (3 per cent), it will hit pre-pandemic levels within 12 months.

    The survey, which was answered by 313 European travel buyers and bookers, asked ‘how quickly do you expect your organisation’s business travel to return to pre-pandemic levels?’.

    • 14 per cent of buyers believe it will return in full by summer 2023.
    • 27 per cent reckon that won’t happen until 2026.
    • A further 25 per cent believe it will hit 80-99 per cent within 2 years
    • 8 per cent believe it will reach those levels within 12 months.

    Gavin Harvey is a travel buyer at Sodexo. He believes his organisation’s business travel will return and peak at 80 per cent of pre-pandemic levels.

    Budgets also looking healthy

    The research drew out more positive news when 10 per cent of respondents said they are actually expecting their business travel budgets to increase compared to pre-pandemic levels in 2022. For others cost-cutting will remain paramount, at least in the short term, with one quarter of buyers claiming they will have up to 25 per cent less to spend, and 39 per cent facing budget cuts between 26 and 50 per cent.

    Just 4 per cent of buyers said the single biggest element likely to reduce their organisation’s business travel activity was traveller reluctance. Instead, travel restriction and the pressure to cut costs were more influential decision-makers. In fact, 7 per cent of respondents stated all of their travellers want to hit the road again and no one was aware of traveller reluctance.

    “It’s really encouraging that bookers and buyers are feeling so positive about the return of both travel and travel budgets,” said Louis Magliaro, Executive VP, BTN Group.

    “Business Travel Show Europe is THE place to plan now for travel later. We have over 100 suppliers exhibiting including airlines, hotels, trains, tech experts and TMCs, our Fundamental conference sessions designed specifically for EAs and PAs, trailblazing inventions in our Innovation Zone and Business Travel Innovation Faceoff, and a much-needed focus on sustainability in our Ethical Travel Trail, which lets visitors instantly spot ethical travel suppliers and conference content.”

    Exhibitors at Business Travel Show Europe include Uber for Business, Addison Lee and GETT, American Express GBT, easyJet, Qantas and Qatar, GWR and LNER, IHG, Melia and StayCity among many more.

    The Fundamentals conference programme features 10 sessions over two days – all free to attend – and designed specifically to help PAs, EAs and office managers to book business travel with confidence, save time and money, and maximise ROI. Topics include choosing the right TMC for you, negotiating the best supplier deals, and how to keep your travellers safe and secure.

    Business Travel Show Europe takes place at ExCeL London on 30 September & 1 October with supplementary online content and networking. PAs can register for free at https://www.businesstravelshow.com/register 

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    Stuart O'Brien

    All stories by: Stuart O'Brien