Delta CEO Optimistic About Business Travel
Delta’s CEO just announced a massive multi billion dollar loss for 2020. 15.6 billion dollar loss to be exact. So why is the Delta CEO so confident about the return to travel, and more specifically business travel?
Despite some predictions that Zoom and video conferencing will be the new norm, along with full time working from home, there are a number of indicators that show we are starting to trend towards normal.
Citing their own internal survey of business customers, Delta’s CEO noted that 40% expected business travel to return to normal by 2022. Only 7% didn’t think they would ever return to normal.
I think business travel has got a very, very strong opportunity to return over the next two years, and we’re going to be well positioned to carry it– Ed Bastian, CEO of Delta
This, in addition to the trends we’ve seen around increasingly crowded flights and an increase in travel in general, they certainly have a reason to believe this survey is promising; especially because all of this is happening while the country is still working to get COVID-19 completely in control. Return to “normal”, whatever that will ultimately be, is not likely to happen until the pandemic is controlled enough for the vast majority of America’s to feel comfortable returning to normal.
We know it’s going to be different going forward– Ed Bastian, CEO of Delta
Business Travel Trends in 2021
Despite the expectation that the trend will continue to rise and that travel will return to pre-pandemic levels sometime between 2022 and 2024, travel will certainly be different in 2021. Still, there are a number of travel trends in 2021 that are helping us understand how we are adapting.
Personal travel has shown some significant ability to adapt and change, and while flying and extensive travel is still a long way from pre-pandemic levels, trends show people are adapting. Driving instead of flying; planning last minute; traveling in smaller groups; choosing locations and activities that more easily support distancing are all common changes we are making to maintain our ability to vacation. The explosion of RVing and road tripping are certainly signs of our desire to continue to vacation and travel, even if we must change the way we do it.
For business travel though, the major barriers to returning to travel or even adapting is the desire for clients and prospects not to meet in person as well as most organizations still have not returned to their offices in a substantial way. This, coupled with most events and conferences remaining virtual will continue to be the anchor holding business travel down.
One area we have witnessed an increase in business travel is internal meetings. Sales teams specifically have seen an uptick in travel.