Eighty-four percent of business travelers plan to take at least one trip to attend conferences, conventions or trade shows in the next six months, according to a new survey by the U.S. Travel Association (USTA).
“The return of in-person meetings and events — and business travel in general — is a welcome sign after more than two years of pandemic-related uncertainty,” said U.S. Travel Association President (USTA) and CEO Roger Dow. “There is simply no substitute for a face-to-face meeting, which is proven to lead to more fruitful business opportunities, and can help power an economic and jobs recovery in communities across America.”
This latest data shows a desire to return to in-person meetings, finding that nearly one-quarter (24 percent) of business travelers now plan to take more trips to attend conferences/conventions/trade shows than pre-pandemic. Also reported is that 43 percent plan to travel the same amount, while 17 percent expect to travel less, and 16 percent were not sure.
Corporate policies restricting business travel was the second-highest reason for uncertainty and may require review. “In-person conferences have relational and financial impacts to corporations that are significant,” said Andrea Stokes, Practice Lead for Hospitality at J.D. Power. “Nearly half of survey respondents indicated that conferences, conventions, and trade shows are critical to developing relationships with customers, suppliers or others. Nearly one in four respondents indicated these events are critical to closing sales.”
The study also shows the changing face of today’s workplace with one-third of business travelers surveyed working fully remote and four in five working remotely at least some of the time. For those remote employees, the report indicates that they are encouraged to hit the road to engage with other team members in person, to attend training in-person, or to attend in-person celebrations.
Responses to this survey were gathered at Harry Reid International Airport in Las Vegas and Miami International Airport, with both cities particularly busy of late as trade shows and conventions continue to rebound.