Travel Comes to a Halt Across the Globe
The coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to punish the global business travel industry, with business travel coming almost to a halt across the globe, according to the latest research conducted by the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA). Almost every GBTA member company (96 percent) report they have canceled and/or suspended all or most international business travel regardless of location.
“The coronavirus is having a devasting effect on the global business travel industry the likes of which we have never seen,” said Scott Solombrino, COO and Executive Director of the Global Business Travel Association. “We urge Congress to come together and pass a financial package that will help the industry survive in these unprecedented times. 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.”
To understand the coronavirus’s effects on business travel, GBTA conducted its fourth lightning poll among membership on March 18-21, 2020. GBTA received responses from more than 1,155 member companies throughout the world.
Among the poll’s key findings are:
- Business travel has come to a halt across the globe. Companies are canceling or suspending almost all business travel due to the coronavirus regardless of country or region. GBTA members report their companies have canceled or suspended “all” or “most” business trips to:
- China – 99% canceled or suspended
- Hong Kong – 99% canceled or suspended
- Taiwan – 98% canceled or suspended
- Other Asia-Pacific countries (e.g., Japan, South Korea and Malaysia) – 97% canceled or suspended
- Europe – 96% canceled or suspended
- Middle East/Africa – 95% canceled or suspended
- Latin America – 92% canceled or suspended
- Canada – 89% canceled or suspended
- United States – 85% canceled or suspended
- Almost every GBTA member company (96%) reports they have canceled and/or suspended all or most international business travel regardless of location. In addition, four in five (82%) report they have canceled or suspended all or most domestic business trips.
- A majority of GBTA members based in the United States (84%) and Europe (81%) report their company has canceled or suspended all or most domestic business travel.
- Many GBTA member companies have instituted blanket cancelation/suspension of business travel regardless of location, duration or purpose. Four in ten (41%) report their company as canceled or suspended all business travel, while half (53%) report their company has canceled or suspended all non-essential trips but allows some essential travel.
- GBTA member companies have undertaken a host of measures to help protect employees including instituting work from home policies (85%), provide updated health and safety information to employees (79%) and developing contingency plans to get work done such as increase teleconferences and video meeting (70%). Other actions taken include limiting the number of people who work in the office (59%) fewer report their company has temporarily closed all but essential departments (26%), closed the office entirely (25%) or moved some employees to new locations (11%).
- Almost all GBTA member companies have canceled (95%) and/or postponed (92%) meetings, conferences or events due to the coronavirus. Fewer (31%) report meetings or events have been moved to other locations. When asked to estimate the percentage of business travel previously booked for March 2020 that has been canceled, GBTA members estimate approximately 89% of business trips have been canceled. This is double the estimate from the March 10, 2020 GBTA poll, when members estimated 43% of March 2020 business travel was canceled due to coronavirus.
- GBTA members vary in terms of when they expect business travel to resume. Over half expect travel to resume within the next three (40%) or six (17%) months. Four in ten (40%) say they are unsure when travel will resume.
- The coronavirus financial toll is severe, with seven in ten (73%) GBTA member companies describing the impact as “significant.” Another one in five (19%) characterize the financial impact as “moderate.”
- GBTA supplier members feel the financial impact more strongly, with nine in ten (94%) describing the financial impact of the coronavirus as being “significant” to their company’s revenue.
- GBTA member companies continue to alter travel policies due to the coronavirus. Seven in ten (70%) report their company has instituted new policies pertaining to travel approval – an increase of 15 percentage points since the March 10, 2020 GBTA coronavirus poll. In addition, companies continue to modify travel safety and security policies in response to coronavirus with seven in ten (70%) reporting their company has modified traveler safety policies – an increase of eight percentage points from the previous poll.
Potential 2020 Business Travel Spend Revenue Loss Due to Coronavirus
Source: GBTA BTI™ Outlook Annual Global Report & Forecast (2019)
GBTA conducted a poll of its members across the globe from March 18-21, 2020 and received responses from 1,155 GBTA members.