A new lightning poll conducted by the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA), which surveyed members from 1,155 companies between March 18-21, has shown that 40 percent of company CEOs expect business travels to peak up again in three months after the coronavirus crisis.
A surprising 40 percent of those surveyed said that they expect business travel bound for those regions that are currently closed due to the COVID-19 crisis to resume at normal levels within the next three months. An equal share (40 percent) of the participants answered simply “unsure” when asked how long they anticipated it would take before corporate travel really resumes.
The remaining 20 percent of respondents were of divided opinion: seventeen percent think it will be about six months, two percent said eight months and one percent guessed twelve months before things go back to normal. None, however, predicted that it will take more than a year to bounce back. No explanation was made available as to what might’ve led participants to form these opinions.
This lightning poll is GBTA’s fourth conducted since February 4, 2020, when the coronavirus began to seriously escalate on the world stage, to obtain a snapshot of the various ways in which its member businesses are being impacted by the pandemic. On the whole, companies’ apparent level of optimism is somewhat surprising, given that the figures on current business travel are dismal amid the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.
Companies reported, on average, that 89 percent of their business trips that had been scheduled for March 2020 had to be canceled as a direct result of COVID-19. That’s more than double the estimate made from its poll reported on March 10, in which it was estimated that 43 percent of members’ March 2020 corporate travel had been canceled.
A whopping 96 percent of companies reported having now canceled or suspended either all or most of their upcoming international business travel plans, regardless of location. 82 percent said they’ve suspended or canceled all or most domestic trips, as well.
“The coronavirus is having a devastating effect on the global business travel industry the likes of which we have never seen,” GBTA’s CEO, Scott Solombrinor, said in a statement.
It remains to be seen whether that 40 percent of GBTA’s members are justified in their confidence in the rapid rebound of corporate travel. GBTA itself has signed on in the industry’s joint request to Congress for assistance in weathering the storm.
“We urge Congress to come together and pass a financial package that will help the industry survive in these unprecedented times,” Solombrinor said.
“The business travel industry is directly or indirectly responsible for seven in ten jobs throughout the world. It is imperative that Congress pass a responsible bill as soon as possible to save the industry before its fate is sealed.”
Equities January 3, 2020