We know that leisure travelers have gone back to their old habits and vacations are booming this summer. But the livery industry has been waiting for their other solid source of revenue—business travel—to start up again. Now, we are seeing positive signs that a rebound is on the horizon.
This summer, luxury travel has already rallied as individuals and families book their revenge travel accommodations. Yet corporate travel has not been so fast rebound, with domestic business travel averaging only 35% of pre-pandemic levels. And predictions are that it will take even longer for international business trips to pick up, according to Bloomberg.
When we look at the different types of business travel that are growing now, we see that “63% of corporations have either already returned to pre-pandemic levels or plan to within the next twelve months,” according to a poll done by the Association of International Certified Accountants. This represents the majority of organizations working across a wide range of industries.
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Optimism has been gauged in multiple commercial industries and the stats are ticking up. Companies are once again planning for growth, rather than recession as was the case for the past 18 months. Thanks to eased restrictions, increasing vaccination rates, and an overall desire to ‘get back to normal,’ among employees and management alike, things are now moving in that direction. Hiring is strong and expected to continue to increase, which is one good indicator that businesses are generally returning to normal.
Another sign that corporate travel will rise in this post-pandemic phase is that companies have and are re-opening their offices. Pivoting to remote work was a lifesaver for businesses that were able to function without going into the office. As of last month, nearly half of businesses had gone back to work in the office or had set a date when a presence in the office will be required.
With the return to in-person meetings, training, and services, leading airline executives anticipate a steep rebound for U.S. business travel after the Labor Day holiday when many more offices plan to reopen full-time.
It’s true that many employees have come to like the flexibility of remote work and want to keep working, at least part time, from home. However, the new hybrid worker does not expect this flexibility to interfere with their business travel in the long-term. In fact, about 40% of corporations say they have already resumed non-essential domestic business travel, according to a poll by Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) published in Chauffeur Driven.
‘Zoom fatigue‘ is a real thing. Professionals are getting tired of the near-constant video conferences, the difficulty of paying attention and absorbing information in an online format, and the lack of real interaction with clients and colleagues. Now, as the pandemic situation improves, more and more companies are happy to return to face-to-face meetings both internally and externally. This is a positive sign for executive car services and black car fleets which had come to an abrupt halt when the pandemic first erupted.
Trade Shows and Conferences
As employees show greater willingness to travel, trade shows and conferences are being scheduled in the coming months. While participation is not initially expected to reach pre-pandemic heights, event coordinators have been surprised by the number of tickets being sold. This year, event organizers are widely promoting a hybrid platform which enables participants to attend both in-person and virtually. Experts believe that crowds will come back to conferences and expos in Las Vegas and other hubs in full force by next year.
Since this spring, travel buyers have reported an increase in business travel spend and global corporate travel bookings are recovering at a 10% rate, week over week. In June, United Airlines announced that it will be expanding service in two key hubs for business travelers: San Francisco and Newark. While Delta’s CEO, Ed Bastian, explained that he expects a “renaissance of business travel” in the coming months.
Some are calling this rebirth “corporate bleisure,” according to Travel Weekly. In response to the tense and tiring months of restrictions, working around home life interruptions, and glitchy virtual meetings, relaxing work trips are the latest trend. Some livery operators have noted an increase in groups of travelers who are essentially taking staff vacations. Especially for companies that were not hit by the COVID economic slump and instead saved money on travel budgets over the last 16 months, are feeding the growth in bleisure.
Related article: Business Is Coming Back for the Livery Industry.
Is Your Fleet Back on Its Feet?
It can be hard to manage costs and staffing with so much flux in business. LimoLive24 supports luxury transportation fleets to meet changing demands in the livery industry. By outsourcing call handling and booking, your limo business gets 24/7 coverage for call handling and scheduling at a fraction of the cost of employing office assistance. Plus, it’s a flexible solution that automatically adapts to your needs – from middle-of-the-night call handling to overflow assistance when demand is high. Contact LL24 to get a personalized estimate for your fleet operations.