Business Travel 'devastated' by Covid-19 Coronavirus: Survey

By Doug Gollan, March 24, 2020

Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) research shows the devastating impact of the Coronavirus pandemic on business travel

54% of respondents expect a permanent change

While research conducted last week by Private Jet Card Comparisons showed 35% of subscribers expect to make critical business trips by private jet in the next 90 to 120 days, research from the Global Business Travel Association paints a much darker picture for the broader travel market.

Nearly three-quarters of respondents (73%) said Covid-19 has had a significant impact on company revenue, with 19% saying it was moderate, and 7% slight. Only 1% said the crisis had no impact at all.

Almost every GBTA member company (96%) report they have canceled and/or suspended all or most international business travel regardless of location.   

More than four in five (82%) report they have canceled or suspended all or most domestic business trips. 

The Private Jet Card Comparisons survey, which covered both business and leisure travel, revealed 61% had yet to cancel a planned trip using private aviation because of Covid-19.

And while 39% had canceled trips using private aircraft, including for business, 36% had scheduled extra trips because of Coronavirus, some to relocate employees. Some 16% expect to use private jet access to relocate employees or customers in the next three to four months.

According to the GBTA study, travel to China (91%), Hong Kong (87%), Taiwan (84%), Other Asia/Pacific (79%), and Europe (74%) saw all trips canceled.

More than nine in 10 respondents (96%) said all or most international travel has been canceled with 69% cutting it completely.

Over eight in 10 respondents (82%) said all or most domestic international travel has been canceled with 36% stopping all domestic travel.

How has the coronavirus impacted your company’s business travel to?

  Canceled All Trips Canceled Most Trips Canceled Some Trips Canceled Few Trips Canceled No Trips
China 91% 8% 0% 0% 0%
Hong Kong 87% 12% 0% 0% 1%
Taiwan 84% 14% 1% 0% 1%
Other APAC 79% 18% 2% 0% 1%
Europe 74% 23% 2% 1% 1%
United States 47% 38% 7% 4% 4%
Canada 59% 29% 5% 4% 3%
Latin America 68% 25% 3% 2% 2%
Middle East/Africa 75% 20% 2% 2% 2%
All International 69% 27% 2% 1% 1%
All Domestic Travel 36% 46% 9% 4% 4%

In terms of when business travel is expected to resume, 40% were unsure with another 40% saying three months and 17% estimating six months.

In terms of meetings, events, and conferences, while 85% reported many canceled and postponed (76%) meetings, 26% said many of those dates had been moved.

What action has your company taken regarding Meetings, Events, or Conferences?

  Canceled Postponed Moved
Yes, Many 85% 76% 26%
Yes, Some 10% 16% 5%
Yes, Few 4% 6% 7%
No 1% 2% 62%

GBTA respondents also noted they are now frequently (75%) holding virtual meetings.

Currently, 53% have canceled or suspended all non-essential trips but still allow some essential travel. An additional 41% have canceled or suspended all business trips.

In terms of other actions taken, 86% have instituted work at home policies while 59% are limiting the number of people who work in the office.

In March, GBTA members estimated 89% of all business trips will end up being canceled. Another 54% expect permanent changes even after the threat of Covid-19 recedes.

“The coronavirus is having a devasting effect on the global business travel industry the likes of which we have never seen,” said Scott Solombrino, COO and Executive Director of the GBTA.

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