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Survey: Industry Rebound Optimism Exceeds Corp. Travelers’

Business travelers and travel professionals alike indicated a bullish attitude toward business travel growth in 2023, according to the Expedia Group’s Traveler Value Index, released on Thursday.

“The research we’ve done is showing a positive outlook, and we’re expecting both business and international travel to increase in 2023,” Expedia Group SVP of marketing Cheryl Miller said. “The appetite for business travel has rapidly increased in the last six months.”

The survey—in which Wakefield Research tabulated responses from 11,000 adults across multiple countries as well as 100 travel industry professionals each in 11 markets—showed 70 percent of industry professionals expect business travel to return to pre-pandemic levels during the next two years. Just more than half of industry professionals in the survey said business travelers are the highest priority travelers for their organization.

Miller noted that the hotel industry is the most optimistic in terms of the return of business travel, and the industry itself is showing a bit more optimism than the actual travelers. “We are seeing a little discrepancy in what travel professionals say versus the consumer,” she said, “but overall, it’s definitely showing a lot of momentum.”

Optimism was not even across countries surveyed. Industry professionals in Germany and Japan were the least certain about a business travel rebound next year, Miller said.

In terms of the travelers themselves, face-to-face meetings with customers was the top reason they expected to travel for business during the next 12 months, indicated by 37 percent of respondents. Industry and conference events were next at 32 percent, followed by on-site visits and monitoring at 28 percent and internal team meetings at 26 percent.

Business travelers in Brazil were the most likely to travel within the next year, Miller said.

Additionally, Miller said that a “business/leisure [combination] is definitely a thing that’s going to be staying,” with 76 percent of business travelers in the survey saying they planned to extend a work trip for leisure purposes sometime in the next 12 months. Twenty-eight percent of travelers in the survey also said they were planning leisure travel over the next 12 months during which they will do remote work.

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