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Business Travelers Look Forward to a Return to the Road

Lack of business travel has ‘demotivated’ them, IHG survey finds, with nearly half saying it improves their ‘working mood’

The lack of travel in 2020 has “demotivated” employees who travel for business, according to a new survey, conducted for IHG Hotels & Resorts. The poll found nearly half (45 percent) said business travel improves their working mood and makes them more motivated.

The survey revealed that more than half of respondents said business travel allows them to “create meaningful relationships with colleagues, customers and/or clients.” By contrast, 40 percent of respondents in the US and a third globally said not being on the road in 2020 discouraged momentum.

The survey, which was based on responses from 6,000 consumers in the US, UK and Australia, also showed that 40 percent of those who travel for business said they miss face-to-face meetings.

Close to 60 percent of survey respondents said they canceled up to four trips (leisure and business) last year. And while the return of business travel may lag, among leisure travelers, one in five (20 percent) say they plan to make up for the lack of travel in 2020 by going on more trips in 2021.

The survey also found that people are missing the travel elements of a work trip. Just under half of respondents (46 percent) missed being able to stay in a different city, with 21 percent noting the inability to earn loyalty points. Meanwhile, 34 per cent missed staying in a comfortable bed when they travelled for business and 30 percent missed dining with clients and colleagues.

“Whether it’s traveling to spend time with family, a trip away with friends, or traveling for work, it’s evident that there’s a hunger for human connection again,” noted Karin Sheppard, SVP, managing director for Europe at IHG Hotels and Resorts. “We know travel may still look a little different this year, but we are committed to continue innovating and finding new ways to help people connect and experience our own backyard and beyond.”

The hotel group recently unveiled a brand refresh intended to reflect company’s growth to 16 brands, with a portfolio of nearly 6,000 hotels across 100 countries, as it prepares for the return of international travel this year.