The majority of UK businesses are set to ramp up their travel spending in the next year, according to research.
Data published on Monday by American Express revealed that 68 per cent of UK companies would increase their business travel spending by at least 50 per cent, while four in ten firms are looking to travel more.
The vast majority in fact believes that business travel is fundamental to drive profitability and growth.
Figures published in June by WPI Economics showed that business travellers returning to pre-pandemic levels by next year would lead to UK growth rates going up by 50 per cent by 2030.
“Businesses had no choice but to press pause on a lot of travel over the last two years and lean on virtual alternatives to build relationships with customers and colleagues,” said Hana Lear, American Express’s corporate vice president of UK card services.
“However, there’s clearly a renewed focus on the entire business travel experience to ensure both companies and employees maximise the value of trips.”
Commenting on the data, a spokesperson for the Airport Operators Association said: “Aviation is a major economic enabler, and our airports are a vital to facilitating long term economic growth and look forward to welcoming an increase in business and leisure travel in the months ahead.”
Business travel recovery, however, could be hindered by the delays and disruption that have plagued the sector over the last few months.
Aviation analyst Alex Macheras told City A.M. the industry should work harder at luring business customers back as they are typically twice as lucrative compared to leisure passengers – especially during the off-peak season.
“While we hear a lot about airlines needing to ensure their operations are smooth for leisure peak periods such as half-terms, it’s really in the best interest of airlines to lure back business travellers by ensuring smooth operations, the restoration of flight frequencies on key business routes, and the reopening of facilities that were closed due to the pandemic and subsequent staff shortage, such as fast-track security and lounges,” he told City A.M.