A new survey sheds light on how Travelers feel about international trips, including whether or not pre-departure rapid testing might open up foreign business travel.
Since March, business travel has remained highly curtailed due to the global spread of COVID-19. Some companies are still traveling domestically, but very few have approved international trips. Might pre-departure rapid testing be the key that opens up the world again?
Results from a new survey by the Global Business Travel Association provide insight into how Travelers feel about rapid testing and a series of other pandemic-related travel topics. Here’s a look at some of the key findings from this survey of 927 Travelers, which the GBTA conducted from Oct. 16–20.
Pre-Departure Rapid Testing is the Key to International Travel
About three quarters of all respondents (76%) suggested that pre-departure rapid testing is the best way to return to international travel. If this type of testing were available, those who test negative could skip the quarantine period upon arrival in a foreign country, which would allow them to immediately begin visiting clients and prospects, attending conferences and otherwise working.
This figure is even higher among European respondents. A full 86% of Travelers in Europe suggested that pre-departure rapid testing could greatly open up the map and get employees back on the road to international destinations for work.
Among the 927 respondents, 90% said their companies are not currently traveling internationally, and 68% said their companies are not currently traveling domestically.
Nothing Beats Face-to-Face Meetings
The group of survey respondents largely believes that face-to-face meetings are superior to virtual alternatives. About 82% of respondents said that face-to-face meetings are “more” or “much more” effective than virtual meetings. Another 14% said that virtual meetings are just as effective as face-to-face meetings, and only 2% said that virtual meetings are more effective than in-person.
Of course, this sentiment holds implications for the future of business travel. Many believed that the pandemic might make virtual meetings more acceptable and prevalent. But, if the opinions of the Travelers who responded to this survey matter, nothing can beat the effectiveness of an in-person meeting.
What Does This Mean for Executives?
Of course, Executives have a duty of care responsibility to keep their Travelers safe and secure while away from the office for work. It’s this duty of care responsibility that is likely keeping companies from allowing more international travel right now.
But there are still important meetings to be held overseas, and the lack of pre-departure rapid testing could be a significant barrier. As an Executive, you can participate in lobbying efforts through associations and other organizations relevant to your industry to ask for pre-departure rapid testing. You can also start now by updating your travel policy and making plans to help get your Travelers vaccinated when COVID-19 inoculations become available.
Make the Most of Your Business Travel
At JTB Business Travel, we believe in highly effective work trips that deliver the return on investment that companies expect. That’s why we focus on helping companies optimize their travel spend, while also emphasizing support for Travelers themselves. Behind every service we provide and every recommendation we make is a common sense approach to business travel.
Contact us to learn more about how we can help you maximize your investment in business travel.