According to an OAG survey, almost two-thirds of US business travelers have definite plans of flying next year. OAG surveyed more than 1,800 travelers and discovered that 62% of US business travelers have plans of flying next year. The survey was made in July and August.
41% are also expecting the return of companies’ travel rates to pre-pandemic levels within the next 12 months. OAG also surveyed US travelers about their perception of vaccine passports. 70% believed that vaccine passports should be required for all international travel. And also, 68% said that they are interested in a vaccine passport for domestic travel.
Travel Demand Softened
Does it mean that US airlines can be optimistic in anticipating the return of business travel?
Most US carriers closed their second quarter on a positive note. And during that time, many were expecting a modest profit for the third and fourth quarter. Then, a surge in COVID cases happened, brought by the delta variant. Bookings on major airlines softened starting late July and continued to go down in August. And by this time, their expected rebound for business travel didn’t materialize.
With the travel rebound not able to build momentum, US airlines are now cutting thousands of flights from their third-quarter schedule. Southwest officials, for instance, announced that they are cutting almost 2700 flights.
Conflicting Data to Indicate Return of US Business Travelers
In a survey by the American Hotel & Lodging Association, 67% of US travelers will take fewer trips. Plus, 52% are most likely going to cancel existing travel plans in the coming months. And most important of all, they don’t have plans to reschedule their trips.
How about business travelers? The survey discovered that 60% are planning to postpone their business trips.
These are conflicting data presented by two different organizations. Marriot CEO Tony Capuano said that “Business travelers are all standing around the edge of the pool, trying to figure out who’s going to jump in”.