Business travellers are forced to shift from in-person meetings to virtual meetings as the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted travel.

Verdict has conducted a poll to assess the defining factors that organisations are considering for using air travel for business purposes again.

Air travel for business purposes

Analysis of the poll results shows that safety of the destination and airline safety policy were among the foremost factors considered by organisations for using air travel again, as opined by 54% and 47% of the respondents, respectively.

Post-trip quarantine measures and travel cost were the next factors considered by 46% and 39% of the respondents respectively, while willingness of employees to travel and flexible air fares were other factors considered respectively by 37% and 29% of the respondents.

The analysis is based on 625 responses received from the readers of Verdict community sites between 21 August 2020 and 16 November 2020.

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Factors influencing business travel amid COVID-19

Business travel generates significant revenues for airlines and hotels as corporate travellers usually purchase higher class tickets and stay at luxury hotels. Corporate travellers account for just 10% of the passengers but drive 55% to 75% of the profits for airlines.

As travel restrictions are eased, business travel is expected to return in phases but 5%-10% of business travel may never return due to insolvencies and bankruptcies caused by the pandemic, according to Forbes. Regional and domestic business travel for in-person sales and client meetings will return first although the overall sector will recover at a slower pace.

Travel providers will need to modify operations and policies to meet customer demands. Operators will need to invest extensively in ensuring 100% compliance with health and safety standards, while seeking global accreditations to attract customers, according to McKinsey & Company.