The global business travel industry has emerged from the pandemic and is showing positive momentum at the start of 2024. The Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) conducted a survey with over 700 business travel professionals from 41 countries. 83% of respondents indicated that their global business travel bookings increased in 2023 compared to 2022, as did travel spend for 84% of respondents.
The industry sees challenges
For 2024, most travel buyers expect further growth, with 59% expecting an increase in business travel and 67% expecting an increase in travel spend. However, the industry also sees challenges, including rising travel costs, economic uncertainty and changes in corporate budgets.
Almost half of travel buyers have revised their employee travel policies due to remote and hybrid working models. Although 57% of respondents consider comparison with pre-pandemic performance no longer relevant, there are still concerns about rising travel costs, economic uncertainty and travel disruption. Climate impact and sustainability are increasingly important concerns, particularly in Europe.
48% are revising their travel policies due to new work models
The impact of hybrid and remote work plays a role in the development of employee travel programs, with 48% stating they are revising their travel policies due to these work models. Costs associated with hybrid/remote employees were reported as higher by 27%. In terms of future business travel, sales and account management meetings, external conferences and internal meetings are expected to be the main drivers.
The survey also shows that the industry faces challenges in attracting and retaining talent, with unattractive salaries and benefits topping the list. Overall, 76% of travel buyers plan no changes to internal travel, while 14% expect to increase headcount.