A lot of business trips are never coming back. Now what?

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Business travel is the lifeblood of the travel industry in many ways. Even if you travel only for leisure, the highly profitable business traveler affects every seat on a plane and every hotel room. But that passenger is dialing back, perhaps permanently. now what?

“Something in the range of 10% to 25% reduction in business travel over the long term,” according to Scott Hornick, a partner in Consultancy Oliver Wyman, a traveler sentiment survey of 2,500 business travelers. The identified trends help the firm to inform its clients in the travel sector and ancillary industries.

But business travel is far from monolithic, and Hornick points to strong travel restoration plans among less traveled travelers who have had little travel to cut off “sloppy shoes” travelers as well as “sloppy shoes” travelers, Those who do skilled business at work sites and don’t have the option to “zoom it in”.

Even for those who can work remotely, the pandemic has put some business travel habits on pause that now seem absurd at best. “You no longer see an investment banker flying across the Atlantic to a breakfast meeting at Heathrow and then flying back,” Hornick says.

All of which can leave some very expensive seats and yawning room for the occupants. “We’re going to see travel companies looking at high-end travel products and trying to capture more leisure travelers with them,” Hornick says. “You might not have the same number of business class passengers as before, so how can you motivate leisure class passengers to buy that product?”


Tired of moving from business class seats to get crummy coach seats for vacation flights? Airlines may soon have some offers you can’t refuse.

Still, Hornick points out that the business travel trend line is much better than in 2020. Of the respondents who said they would travel more in the future, 20% cited the effectiveness of teleconferencing, 18% said they simply could not do their job remotely, and another 18% cited the job change as such a role. which requires more travel.

Oliver Wymans’ Scott Hornick shares many fine insights into the trajectory of business travel with Nerdshala’s Brian Cooley. Hear them all in the video.

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