When the COVID-19 pandemic swept the globe in early 2020, travel of all kinds was completely grounded. Frequent business travelers had to put their suitcases away and pivot very quickly from face-to-face meetings to online videoconferencing tools and remote work. As the world slowly starts to reopen thanks to international vaccine rollout, it’s time to look forward and understand how business travel evolved and changed as a result.So, we decided to take a look at some of the most interesting data points from our own platform to understand the effects of COVID-19 on business travel practices in the US. You know what they say—data never lies!
There has been a fairly dramatic shift in this distribution throughout the pandemic. As the chart below indicates, international travel dropped significantly due to global travel restrictions. Domestic travel to these business cities continued, with San Francisco and New York being most visibility affected. International travel to Las Vegas, Chicago, Boston, and Dallas was lowest at this time.
- Before the pandemic, San Francisco and New York had more international business travel arrivals than domestic ones. Now, this has reversed and domestic travel rates are higher than international travel rates to these cities.
- International travel overall has dropped since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic. We have, however, started to see green shoots of recovery in international travel from about January 2021.
- Domestic travel also suffered at the height of the pandemic, reaching all-time lows between April and August 2020.
- Domestic travel is leading the path to business travel recovery. There has been a steady increase in domestic business travel in the US from January to May 2021.
- There is significantly more demand for flexible rates when booking business trips now than before the pandemic. In fact, we’ve seen an increase in demand of up to 25% for some cities.