On the Upswing: How Business Travel Is Bouncing Back

Maybe it’s the spring weather, but the economic forecast for business travel has been looking a lot sunnier in recent weeks.

Last week, the U.S. economy reached a major milestone: the Dow Jones closed above 15,000 points for the first time. Ever. That means investors are regaining confidence, and business (and business travel) is following suit. A recent GBTA report confirmed the trend, reporting that business travel spending will grow by 5% in 2013.

What does all this post-recession good news mean for the travel industry?

Face-to-face meetings matter

Businesses that invested money in business travel during the recession are now reaping the rewards. A recent USTA/Oxford Economics survey of business travelers found that 57% believed cutting their business travel budgets hurt their company’s performance in the economic downturn.

And in-person meetings double the likelihood of “prospect conversion” – road warriors win over new customers and retain relationships with current clients.

Business travel helps business

Hotels in particular are feeling the travel halo effect. Marriott earnings jumped 31% thanks to the recovery in business travel this year. And boom in business travel has sparked some other serious numbers, according to the USTA report.

Business travel supports:

  • 1.9 million jobs
  • $59 million in personal income
  • $35 billion in tax revenue

The commitment of smart companies that invested in business travel during the recession has been paying off, both on the bottom line and on Wall Street. The USTA says every dollar invested in business travel is returned 10 times over in business – that’s a big confidence booster for the U.S. economy, and our industry. And the optimistic numbers have us all hoping the sunny weather is here to stay.

Curious about how business travel has changed in the last 20 years? Download our ebook: Business Travel Transformed: How the Social Era Has Changed Road Warriors for Good.

Photo credit: Adrian

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