04 Jun Business Travel: Will We Get Back To Normal?
In 2021, any travel seems exotic. Whether it’s a meeting just up the motorway or a trip somewhere warmer, in-person business interactions feel novel. With advice updating constantly and infection rates fluctuating around the world, will business travel return after COVID-19?
Will We Return To In-Person Business Meetings?
For many of us, business travel was part of our daily, pre-pandemic lives but a year of Zoom (other video conferencing software is available!!) has left some businesses reconsidering regular trips.
At face value, Zoom seems to get the job done. We can connect, see each other, talk, and plan. It saves time, too, with no travel needed but are they as good as in-person meetings?
The BBC recently reported that a simple handshake can raise oxytocin levels in the brain, the chemical associated with bonding and relationships. What’s more, strong business relationships hinge on clear communication. And when non-verbal communication makes up a large part of our conversations, blurred screens and thumbnail-sized video surely inhibit our chances of success?
Saving Money By Staying Local
On the other hand, it can be financially beneficial to stay put. HSBC reportedly saved around $300 million on travel alone in 2020 though that figure is dwarfed by Amazon, who saved $1 billion in employee travel expenses last year.
It seems it’s not just big businesses who have stopped spending, either. In the US, only 27% of small businesses expect to spend money on travel in the next six months (reported in March 2021).
Halting travel could be good for the environment as well as our pockets. According to the Global Carbon Project, mass grounding of flights in the peak of 2020 meant CO2 emissions from flights were reduced by up to 60%. Around the same time, jet fuel demand was down 68% year on year.
Covid-19, Business Travel And Tourism
However, if we don’t return to widespread business travel, the tourism industry could be heavily impacted. In recent years, business travel has represented between 15 and 20 percent of global travel and hospitality, as reported by McKinsey.
According to PwC, some international flights rely on business travel for as much as 75% of their revenue. With holiday tourism at low levels, fewer business flights could be worrying for airlines. Especially considering it could be 2024 before we see a return to normal flight levels.
Travelling Abroad Today
As things currently stand, COVID-19 travel restrictions vary greatly depending on your job and the countries involved.
The traffic light system gives a good indication of where is currently safe to travel to. But travellers still need to follow rules set by the country they’re visiting and by the UK government. Entry requirements for specific countries can be found here.
If you travel to a green country, you will need to take certain steps before travelling home, including:
- taking a covid-19 test
- booking and paying for a day 2 covid-19 test – to be taken after arrival in England
- completing a passenger locator form
Certain job roles are exempt from isolation requirements, making international travel possible. A full list is available on the UK government website.
The Brentano Suite
Whether you decide to restart in-person meetings or stay local, it can be challenging to manage teams in an ever changing environment. We regularly publish news and tips to help, such as getting the best out of hybrid teams and updates on how our tenants are doing.
At The Brentano Suite, we take care of your day-to-day office needs so you can focus on your business. We offer serviced office suites across North London, complete with meeting rooms and flexible facilities. Have a look at our locations for more information, or check out our latest news.