by Donald Wood
Last updated: 2:22 PM ET, Mon March 21, 2022
A new study found that 77 percent of business travelers and 64 percent of employed Americans are ready to bring back business travel.
According to a survey from American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA), the majority of business travelers said the increased reliance on virtual work has negatively impacted both productivity (64 percent) and workplace culture (65 percent).
Data shows that 69 percent of respondents approved of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) move to relax mask requirements, with many responding by making additional travel plans.
Another 43 percent of Americans revealed they are more likely to travel for business compared to 2020-21 in response to relaxed public health requirements from the CDC and state and local governments.
"The last two years of virtual work arrangements and travel restrictions have underscored the importance of travel and face-to-face meetings for businesses, employees and customers alike," AHLA President Chip Rogers said. "These results are proof of that."
"Most Americans recognize the unmatched value business travel and face-to-face meetings provide," Rogers continued. "And after the last two years, the return of business travel is more important than ever."
Additional data found that 80 percent of employed Americans and 86 percent of business travelers said face-to-face interactions are important for maximizing company success, while 61 percent and 74 percent agree that in-person meetings and business travel build organizational strength in a way virtual interactions can't.
The AHLA report also showed that 85 percent of employed Americans and 88 percent of business travelers revealed that face-to-face interactions are essential for establishing and maintaining relationships with clients.
With corporate travel policies still in flux, business and group travel-the hotel industry's largest source of revenue-will take significantly longer to recover than leisure travel.
Last week, CWT, a business-to-business-for-employees travel management company, saw an uptick in business travel bookings for countries that have eliminated some testing requirements, finding that business travel is on the rise.
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