Business travelers around the world believe that the COVID-19 pandemic and related travel restrictions have negatively impacted their effectiveness and the ability of their employers to develop and maintain business, according to a new survey by Chubb.
Findings of the Chubb survey include:
- 80% of business travelers believe they are missing something important when they cannot see body language or other visual cues only observable during an in-person meeting.
- 74% of business travelers say they are less effective in their jobs due to the severely limited travel opportunities associated with the pandemic. Areas that have been negatively impacted include client service and the ability to maintain relationships with clients and business partners.
- With proper precautions, respondents were twice as likely to feel more comfortable traveling for business than for leisure.
- 69% of respondents expected company travel budgets to be cut post-COVID to reduce expenses.
- 75% of business travelers are willing to pay more to keep the middle seat open when they fly.
- 87% of respondents have been personally concerned about contracting COVID-19 during the pandemic and have taken steps to protect themselves, including social distancing and mask-wearing.
“Efficient vaccines are being rolled out, economies are beginning to stir, and travel is picking up again,” said John Thompson, division president for international accident and health at Chubb. “This was the right time to understand the perceptions of business travelers about their experiences during the pandemic, and what their expectations are for travel in a post-COVID world. What travel do regular business travelers think can be effectively replaced by meeting virtually? What is the opportunity cost of staying at your desk versus traveling to meet in person? The answers to these and other questions are important as businesses make decisions about future travel budgets, return to office, and the new criteria for traveling to meet with clients, develop business or attend conferences.”
“One of the most striking findings of our survey is how much business travelers in all regions agree: the pandemic, and the travel limitations that came with it, have cost business travelers and their employees the ability to effectively serve clients and maintain relationships with clients and business partners,” said Chris Martin, Chubb division president for North America accident and health. “This was the view of nearly 75% or respondents around the world. It didn’t matter where they live, how much they earn or how frequently they travel. We did find some differences in responses by age group, but that was largely limited to questions about fears of contracting COVID. Younger business travelers, for example, had a higher tolerance for COVID risks.”
“Our survey shows that business travelers have high levels of trust that their employer and airlines will take care of their health and safety. They have much less confidence in the precautions being taken by their fellow travelers,” said Joe Vasquez, senior vice president, Chubb Group, Global Accident & Health. “These perceptions of risk may help explain why so many business travelers are now paying greater attention to the insurance coverage they have when they travel.”
According to Chubb’s survey, 81% of business travelers said they would pay more attention to what travel insurance they had before a trip thanks to the pandemic. Eighty-six per cent (86%) said that having travel insurance made them more comfortable when traveling for business or leisure.