Survey: Business travelers ready to log off screens and check in for trips

Business travelers are raising concerns about the reliance on screen-based interaction as the primary meeting method.

While virtual meetings and remote work are here to stay, business travel and face-to-face meetings remain extremely important, according to 738 travelers surveyed by BCD Travel this summer.

The importance of face-to-face meetings

Employees who travel consider client meetings, team-building events and sales meetings as the most important to conduct face to face, while internal company meetings are the easiest to substitute virtually.

Source: an online survey of 738 business travelers conducted by BCD Travel from July 6 to July 20, 2021

“Meeting face-to-face not only remains a critical component to achieving company goals, it’s also essential to satisfying businesses’ need for efficiency and human interaction,” said Mike Janssen, Global Chief Operating Officer and Chief Commercial Officer at BCD Travel.

The weaknesses of virtual meetings

Virtual meetings are increasingly serving as a substitute to business travel during the pandemic, but they’re unsuitable for certain meetings and aren’t ideal when it comes to relationship building. They lack human contact, provide limited interactions and provoke Zoom fatigue.

Source: an online survey of 738 business travelers conducted by BCD Travel from July 6 to July 20, 2021

“While in some parts of the world the pandemic is slowly receding, other parts might continue to rely on virtual meetings,” said Scott Graf, Global President at BCD Meetings & Events. “Event planners and managers need to up their game with a new skillset that allows them to compensate for the weaknesses of virtual meetings, such as the lack of interaction. Training or outsourced support can be the answer to keep employees focused and motivated in a continually challenging environment.”

Travel policies post-pandemic

Flexibility and simplicity are important for business travelers when it comes to the future of travel policies. They care most about being able to decide for themselves whether to travel. In addition, they want a simplified trip approval process and more options for direct or non-stop flights.

Source: an online survey of 738 business travelers conducted by BCD Travel from July 6 to July 20, 2021

“With vaccinations growing by millions every day, a majority of the workforce is ready to go back on the road, notwithstanding recent spikes of the COVID-19 variant,” said Janssen. “In a post-pandemic environment, corporations need to continue giving guidance. In order to remain an attractive employer in this fast-developing environment, they should also consider empowering employees to make their own travel decisions.”

Need help making your travel policy future-fit? Check out our digital Back to Travel guide.

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