The Future of Business Travel: Back - But Different
November 8, 2022
Over the past several years, the world of professional travel has - of course - shifted dramatically. Those who travel the most are considered, by themselves and others, to be digital nomads - a classification 16.9 million Americans currently embrace. This is an increase of 9% from last year and a “staggering” 131% from 2019.

While not everyone is a digital nomad, the shifts in standard business travel are nearly as staggering as the increase in those who spend time on the road full time. People are combining business and leisure travel more than ever - revolutionizing what business travel looks like, the amount of time we spend on the road and at home, and travel patterns in general.

“Business travel is back, in a big way.”

McLean Robbins, owner of Lily Pond Luxury, a travel agency based in Vienna, VA explains, “Even in a remote-first work world, travel and face-to-face partnership with clients and colleagues remains a staple for relationship building and management in our new world of work.” That refreshed focus on relationships is impacting the way people modify their travel as well. “More and more travelers will combine business and leisure travel, visiting destinations for a longer period of time (including over a weekend) and often traveling with family or friends for part of the journey. People have learned to balance life with remote work, so the challenge of traveling while working is not a new one.”

This shift has already begun: Skift reports that 38% of business trips now include a weekend. The pause in business travel also appears to have impacted professional travelers’ preferences for what McLean describes as “longer, deeper experiences rather than fly-in trips” with 38% of trips spanning between three and six days, and 21% of travelers leaving home for a week or more at a time.

McLean’s own experience confirms what the data says. “As a travel advisor and agency owner, we have seen a strong resurgence in travelers combining business and leisure through the fall, although this is primarily limited to senior management and above.”

Now that we understand how individual preferences have evolved, how are organizations viewing business travel?

This question - at least for the moment - is a bit more complicated. Looking forward, there is less certainty around corporate norms.

Former aviation industry marketing director and current tech leader Kirsten Elghoroury explains, “For some industries and companies, work travel has already in large part gone back to what it was before the pandemic: customer visits, bringing teams together, events, and the like. But, for many industries and companies, work travel has completely shifted, probably for good, given this new hybrid work world many of us live in now. One strong trend is of course virtual meeting options taking the place of what would have called for work travel. On the flip side, with many more people now working remotely across the country and world, there will be some increased travel to bring those employees together in person. Larger events and conventions are increasingly being held in person again.”

“Organizations see business travel as a largely discretionary spend in a post-pandemic world, and often cut back on this as part of cost-saving measures in a down economy.” McLean expands, “Further, health and logistical concerns mean that for some, business travel is no longer desired or feasible.”

Kirsten agrees, “Many companies are wary of the economic outlook and possible recession coming, which is why we've seen some hiring freezes in the tech industry, so budgets for work travel may be minimized as well.”

In short: when it comes to the corporate outlook on business travel, time (and budgets) will tell.

Lauren Lyddon has helped people and organizations to tell their stories for more than a decade. Having tested her love of the creative through the pursuit of an MBA and undergraduate business degrees, she is a writer, editor, and lover of fiction in all its forms (especially theatre, well-written television, and novels). A West coast resident often operating on an East coast schedule, Lauren uses her business background and love of story to serve clients in writing, editing, PR, and more. You can visit her online at



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