Business Travelers and Workers Agree: Return of Business Travel More Important Than Ever



A new survey conducted by Morning Consult on behalf of the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) finds that sentiment around business travel is shifting, with 77 percent of business travelers and 64 percent of employed Americans agreeing that it is more important than ever to bring back business travel. Nearly two-thirds of business travelers say the increased reliance on virtual work that has become common during the pandemic is negatively impacting both productivity (64 percent) and workplace culture (65 percent). The survey also finds nearly seven in ten Americans (69 percent) approve of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) recent move to relax mask requirements, with many travelers responding by making additional travel plans. Among Americans who are currently employed, 43 percent say they are more likely to travel for business compared to 2020-21 in response to relaxed public health requirements from the CDC and state and local governments.

The survey of 2,210 adults was conducted March 8-9, 2022. Of these, 256 people (12 percent) of respondents, are business travelers—that is, those who either work in a job that typically includes work-related travel or who expect to travel for business at least once this year. Other key findings include the following:

  • 80 percent of employed Americans and 86 percent of business travelers say face-to-face interactions are important for maximizing company success.

  • 61 percent of adults and 74 percent of business travelers agree that in-person meetings and business travel build organizational strength in a way virtual interactions cannot.

  • 59 percent of adults and 77 percent of business travelers agree that in-person meetings and business travel foster collaboration in a way virtual interactions cannot.

  • 57 percent of adults and 76 percent of business travelers agree that in-person meetings and business travel facilitate productivity in a way virtual interactions cannot.

  • 56 percent of adults and 71 percent of business travelers agree COVID-19 has created a greater need for face-to-face connection that virtual-only meetings cannot satisfy.

  • 46 percent of adults and 65 percent of business travelers say an increased reliance on virtual work negatively impacts workplace culture.

  • 44 percent of adults and 64 percent of business travelers agree that an increased reliance on virtual work negatively impacts productivity.

  • 86 percent of employed Americans and 89 percent of business travelers say face-to-face interactions are important for establishing and maintaining relationships with coworkers.

  • 85 percent of employed Americans and 88 percent of business travelers say face-to-face interactions are important for establishing and maintaining relationships with clients.

  • 82 percent of employed Americans and 89 percent of business travelers say face-to-face interactions are important for professional trainings.

  • 80 percent of employed Americans and 83 percent of business travelers say face-to-face interactions are important for keeping morale high.

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