3 Ways Business Travel Is Still Being Affected By 2020

From virtual meetings to remote work – it’s no surprise that the business travel landscape has changed dramatically in recent years.

As the industry continues to grow and evolve, so does the way we travel. Whilst this knock-on effect may at first seem negative, with higher average fare costs and fewer business travel opportunities – It’s important to look at the data and see what’s really going on in the world of business travel. 

Thanks to data recorded by the Advantage Travel Partnership, we can examine just how much business travel has changed in the past three years – including the steep rise in business travel fares. 

Here are three ways that business travel is still being affected by 2020:

Average transaction value

After a reduction in schedules in 2020, resulting in airlines retiring planes early and ending routes altogether in 2021, the return of travel has seen added costs for planes and new pilot training. This, along with the general rise in price for both necessities and energy, has resulted in steeper fares when it comes to business travel. This can be seen when we compare the average transaction value for the period 01 January 2023 to 31 May 2023 (£432.35) with the same 5-month period in 2022 (£298.47). This shows fares to be 44.9% higher in 2023, and 6.5% higher than the whole-year average for 2022 (£406.12)

It’s clear then, as a result of 2020, business travel fares are seeing a steep rise. But this isn’t the only interesting metric to arise from the study – we’re also seeing two key behavioural changes in businesses that stem directly from this increase.

Average advanced purchase

From the period of 01 January 2023 to 31 May 2023, we have seen an average advanced purchase of 31.6 days, exceeding the 2019 total average by 8.2 days. This means that, as travellers take heed of getting better prices by booking in advance, they are starting to optimise their travel programmes. Gaining lower fares and guaranteed places for hotels and transfers. 

Average trip duration

As well as the increase in average advanced purchases, we are also experiencing higher average trip duration. In fact, the average trip duration has increased by 15.6% since last year alone, seeing an all-time high of 8.2 days. This is due to businesses being more purposeful with their travel – exchanging one-meeting trips for longer trips that better suit their business strategies. 

What does this mean?

The driving force of these changes comes from business travellers realising the potential of more purposeful travel. By booking early and staying longer, business trips can be optimised. Hosting several meetings across the duration of one trip can generate higher ROI, drive cost efficiency and, overall, balance out the costs of higher fares. Best of all – optimising travel in this way can see some wonderful benefits to sustainability practices overall. 

Business travel has seen many changes as a result of 2020

From rising business travel fares, higher advance purchases and longer average trip durations, it is clear that the travel industry is still seeing significant effects from 2020. However, we are also seeing companies become more efficient with their business travel programmes. Data shows that we’re saying goodbye to single-meeting trips, and leaving last-minute planning in the past. 

Amongst the many uncertainties that the future of travel may bring, one thing is for certain – becoming more purposeful in our planning is the future. Empowering us all to be more sustainable, cost-effective, and overall more in control of our travel strategies.

If you have further questions or want to learn more about purposeful travel, get in touch with our team.