GBTA Poll Points to ‘Stronger’ 2024 for Global Business Travel

GBTA Poll Points to ‘Stronger’ 2024 for Global Business Travel

Nearly three-quarters of buyers expect their travel budgets to increase or hold steady next year, and most said they don’t expect economic concerns to limit business travel at their company, according to a Global Business Travel Association Outlook Poll released Monday.

The poll, fielded from Oct. 11 through Oct. 19, tallied 865 total responses globally, 47 percent of which came from either travel managers and buyers or procurement or sourcing professionals. Among those buyer and procurement respondents, 39 percent said their company’s 2024 travel budget would be higher than this year’s, and an additional 5 percent said it would increase “significantly” more, by at least 25 percent year over year. Twenty-eight percent said their budgets would stay the same next year, while 20 percent said budgets will be lower. The remaining 8 percent didn’t know what their budgets will be next year.

Only 14 percent of buyer and procurement respondents said they currently are implementing a plan to limit business travel because of economic concerns, according to GBTA. An additional 25 percent said they are considering limits but have not yet made a decision. A quarter of respondents also said limiting business travel due to economic concerns was unlikely, alongside 32 percent who said they are taking a “wait-and-see approach” but are not seriously considering limits to business travel.

“With some exceptions, as an industry global business travel has continued to rebound over the past year and has made great strides in getting back to business as usual,” GBTA CEO Suzanne Neufang said in a statement. “Ongoing challenges are expected, but there are optimistic indicators for an even stronger year ahead.”

Across all respondents, which also included suppliers and travel management companies, 43 percent said their company’s business travel had fully or largely recovered compared with 2019 levels this year, and 41 percent said it had mostly recovered. Fourteen percent said it had partially recovered.

On average, respondents indicated their domestic travel bookings are at 76 percent of pre-pandemic levels, an increase of four percentage points from an April GBTA poll. International bookings averaged 70 percent of 2019 levels among respondents, up seven percentage points from April.

NDC Gains Some Ground

The poll also showed some softening in buyers’ attitudes on New Distribution Capability technology from April, though most buyers still indicate they are at sea in terms of NDC strategies.

Among buyer and procurement respondents, 71 percent said they still need more information and education on NDC, which represents a drop of 10 percentage points from the April poll. Fewer buyers think airlines are pushing NDC bookings too fast than April as well, with 45 percent saying so in the current poll compared with 53 percent in April.

Just under a third of buyer and procurement respondents in the survey indicated that they have started to implement NDC In their programs. Ten percent said they have started an implementation that is going smoothly, while 22 percent said they have started an implementation but are experiencing challenges. Half of the buyer and procurement respondents said they have not started NDC implementation; an additional 11 percent said it’s “too early to say,” and the remaining 6 percent were not sure.

Across all poll respondents, 46 percent listed adoption and implementation on new technologies including NDC as one of their organizations two biggest technology-related challenges in 2024, the highest percentage of any option in the poll. Budget constraints ranked second at 38 percent.

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