Is Business Travel Still Relevant In A Post-COVID World? There are those whose jobs have traditionally required them to travel frequently, both nationally and internationally. Think of musicians, representatives, scouts, headhunters, and engineers. Some envy that kind of variability, seeing it as grand and exciting to be paid to see the world, while others shudder at the thought of spending so much time on the go and rarely having enough time to truly settle in one place and relax.
Regardless of how you view business travel, it’s fair to say that the emergency of the COVID-19 pandemic complicated matters. Companies throughout the world suddenly faced major issues with their working processes and had to hastily cancel events. Remote working turned into the new standard, and has remained in that position ever since.
The question, then, is whether business travel is still relevant in today’s world. Is it firmly on the decline, or will we see a resurgence? Let’s consider it.
Remote working is viable, but supply chains need to keep going
Sure, the average office worker can easily work from home without having their productivity affected, but not everyone is in that position. Supply chains obviously need to keep going: the goods we rely on can’t be uploaded, and drivers will be needed to move them around until self-driving vehicle technology is actually reliable (which is likely to be decades at least).
Due to this, fleet-based businesses are no less important now. If anything, they’re more important because so many consumers have significantly reduced their travel, raising the demand for local stock. Couriers and haulage companies that can work economically (investing in efficiency engines, electric vehicles where appropriate, and money-saving utilities such as the Shell fuel card that iCompario provides) might well be making more money than ever before.
In-person events aren’t vital, but can return massive value
It’s true that huge in-person business conferences soak up resources without really being necessary. Their conversations and talks can be managed online, and we’ve already seen plenty of events manage this transition by taking place virtually. But it just isn’t the same. The beauty of the in-person event is that it engages people in a special way and brings them together so much more profoundly than an online meetup ever could.
Furthermore, there are business centers and eateries that endure largely through custom from conferences and business-related gatherings, and taking everything online puts them into extreme peril. Is it clearly easier and more sensible to grab a Zoom meeting instead of flying across the country for a 20-minute chat? Absolutely. But there’s a lot of business travel in many industries that’s clearly worth the effort and investment.
Climate change is a concern, but travel is too big to fail
Mostly everyone can agree that climate change is a massive problem, and that we need to make serious efforts to combat it. But what should those efforts involve? There are those who’ll scorn travel in general, asserting that every flight is another nail in the coffin, but it isn’t as simple as just shutting transport down. There are widespread repercussions waiting.
Keep in mind that there are entire countries that have grown to rely on tourism to survive, and they’ve suffered immensely during the COVID-19 restrictions. Tourism may largely be driven by leisure trips, but business travel has a disproportionate financial impact due to the relative luxury and large scale of its bookings. Additionally, tourist traffic is often generated by business events — conventions and sporting events are ultimately run for money, remember.
In the end, then, business travel is absolutely still relevant. It won’t be quite as prevalent as it once was (especially since so many businesses have moved to remote operation), but it will clearly remain a huge part of the global economic landscape.