A new quarterly research report from Tourism Economics and J.D. Power on behalf of the U.S. Travel Association made its debut in early April, containing results from 2,600 business travelers who answered questions in mid-March about their 2022 travel plans.
In the report, titled Business Travel Tracker, there’s one result that should make the meetings and events industry breathe a sigh of relief: Of the 88 percent of business travelers who plan to take at least one business trip before October, 84 percent of them expect at least one of their trips to be for a meeting, convention, or trade show.
For deeper perspective, consider this: 24 percent of business travelers think they’ll attend more meetings, conventions, and trade shows this year than they did prior to the Covid pandemic; 43 percent expect to attend the same amount; 17 percent expect to travel to fewer; and 16 percent were still unsure.
When it comes to incentive-program travel, 61 percent expect to travel to the same or more such events over the next six months versus pre-pandemic times, while 16 percent said they will travel less for incentives, and 23 percent were still unsure.
With four out of five respondents working remotely at least part of the time—and 35 percent working fully remotely—almost a third say their organizations are actively encouraging them to travel to attend training and educational sessions in person rather than virtually: 31 percent, to be exact.
Respondents also weighed in on their most important outcomes from attending meetings, conventions, and trade shows: developing relationships, said 47 percent; building awareness of their organization’s products and services (26 percent); professional development (23 percent); closing sales (23 percent); and understanding current trends (16 percent).
Overall, business travelers expect to take an average of 1.6 trips per month over the next six months, versus an average of 1.7 trips per month they took prior to the Covid pandemic. Half of their upcoming trips will be to attend an external client meeting or an industry event.
The second edition of Business Travel Tracker will be released in July, with results from business travelers who answer questions in mid-June.