Global business travel is expected to see an uptick in 2023 versus 2022, according to the latest data from the Q1 2023 Business Travel Outlook Poll from the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA). Companies are expected to send more employees on trips and travel suppliers anticipate an increase in corporate travel spending. Sectors such as finance, insurance, professional services, and consulting are showing stronger signs of growth in business travel spending.
The association surveyed over 600 business travel buyers, suppliers, and industry professionals around the world, marking the 30th poll in its series tracking the ongoing evolution of business travel.
“GBTA continues to draw on the collective, diverse perspectives and insights across our industry to closely track the evolving state of global business travel. The return of business travel will vary across regions, sectors, and companies. And despite ongoing global concerns of a recession, a majority of corporate travel managers indicate their companies are anticipating more business travel than last year,” said GBTA CEO Suzanne Neufang.
Additional key takeaways include:
Back on the road and in the air—more business trips are expected in 2023.
- Business leaders may anticipate a recession this year, but travel managers are anticipating more business travel. Three in four travel managers (78 percent) expect their company will take a lot more (22 percent) or more (55 percent) business trips in 2023 versus 2022.
- An overwhelming 90 percent of respondents believe their employees are willing to travel for business, while 88 percent report feeling more optimistic about the path to recovery compared to last month.
Business travel bookings and spending continue making their way back to 2019 levels.
- On average, travel buyers estimate their companies’ current domestic business travel bookings have returned to 67 percent of pre-pandemic 2019 levels (up from 63 percent in GBTA’s October poll).
- International business travel continues to gain ground. In this poll, on average, travel buyers estimate international business travel bookings have recovered to 54 percent, up slightly from 50 percent in October. Current spending for international trips is back to approximately 58 percent.
Staffing for travel suppliers is still suppressed but help may be on the way in 2023.
- Travel suppliers and travel management companies were forced to reduce staff during the pandemic—even now, many of these companies are not yet fully re-staffed. Almost half of travel suppliers (47 percent) report their company’s staffing level is somewhat or much smaller than it was pre-pandemic, while 28 percent say it is about the same.
- However, two in three travel suppliers (65 percent) expect staffing will increase a lot or somewhat in 2023 compared to 2022, while 26 percent expect no change.
Company travel programs hold their (pre-pandemic) ground when it comes to staffing.
- While many travel suppliers emerged from the pandemic with fewer staff, the same has rarely happened with travel programs. The majority of buyers (78 percent) say their company’s travel program staff size in 2023 is expected to be about the same (56 percent) as it was pre-pandemic or will be much or somewhat larger (22 percent).
- Many buyers also expect to increase spending for their travel program operations (such as staff salaries, technology, and consultants) in 2023 versus last year. Almost half of buyers (45 percent) expect their travel program budgets will be higher, while 41 percent expect them to be about the same as in 2022.
Visit gbta.org for more information.