February 17, 2021

The COVID pandemic is having a dramatic and potentially lasting impact on business travel among U.S. marketers, according to a new ANA study.

A great majority of survey respondents (76 percent) currently do not allow business travel for their executives. Only 2.5 percent of respondents indicated they would be willing to travel domestically by air on a business trip.

The survey was fielded from January 18–29 among ANA members and nonmembers and received 1,631 responses. It revealed that business travel among marketers might not pick up until midyear at the earliest.

The survey found that only 10.3 percent of respondents said their companies are currently allowing travel, while 14 percent said they need to obtain management approval or identify a critical client need before booking travel. (Forty-three percent of survey-takers said they approve their own domestic travel.)

“This new report shows air travel for business meetings has suffered dramatically during the pandemic,” said ANA CEO Bob Liodice. “However, the good news is that most companies are anticipating an uptick in travel later this year, and that number increases gradually into the fall months. We might not reach pre-COVID levels, but the signs are positive that we’re heading in the right direction.”

Less than 4 percent of respondents expected their companies to reinstate travel between February and May. However, an aggregate of almost 13 percent of respondents expect travel to pick up by June. That number increases to 23 percent in July, and nearly 30 percent by August.

At the same time, more than 16 percent of respondents said it will be 2022 before company management permits business travel; more than one-third (35 percent) said they were unsure of the timing.

These trends can be extended for personal travel as well. When asked if they would be willing to travel domestically by air for personal reasons, less than 20 percent said they would do so; more than half (55 percent) said they did not want to travel for either business or pleasure.

When asked what would make travel more acceptable and comfortable, 75 percent said, “being immunized” and 70 percent said “having broad distribution of the coronavirus vaccine.” Airline and hotel cleaning protocols also were cited but were far less important than the distribution of vaccines. Some respondents noted they would only travel when there is a substantial decline in positive COVID tests.

To download report CLICK HERE.






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