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Business sector well prepared for business travel comeback

Neu-Isenburg, September 9, 2021

To protect their employees’ health, many companies have modified their travel guidelines. One change is the shift to using higher booking classes, like business class.

Business trips are on the rise, and conferences and meetings are being held again as well. At the same time, the coronavirus pandemic has made travel more difficult. There are questions surrounding whether it is possible to enter or leave a particular country, and if so under what conditions, and how transmission can be prevented. Companies are very well prepared for this, however. This is the result of a survey conducted by the corporate payment specialist AirPlus International among about 750 top managers worldwide. According to the survey, more than 90 percent of companies already have specific mechanisms in place to notify their employees of entry and quarantine restrictions or plan to do so.

But businesses are going even farther. More than half (51 percent) have established their own rules for which countries employees can and cannot enter. More than one-third (35 percent) are planning to take this kind of step. In addition, business travelers are increasingly permitted to choose higher booking classes. Thanks to air filtration, air travel is already very safe, but nearly half of those surveyed still indicated that they also allow their employees to travel in business class, or to book first-class tickets if traveling by train. This also includes a preference for direct connections to avoid bothersome transfers and additional contacts.

Higher prices for business travel considered acceptable

The fact that businesses are choosing higher booking classes shows that they are willing to accept higher costs to meet their duty of care. Corporate decision makers believe prices will rise in the long term anyway, with 59 percent saying they expect prices for transportation and accommodations to be higher than before the pandemic and only eight percent anticipating a decline.

Despite the higher costs and greater time and effort involved, business travel remains important. Eighty percent of the CEOs and top managers surveyed by AirPlus believe in-person contact with customers and suppliers is still crucial. As a result, nearly one-half of respondents (48 percent) believe the next two to three years will see more business travel than even in 2019.

On the whole, about three-quarters of companies have modified their travel guidelines due to the coronavirus pandemic and also plan to retain these changes (72 percent).

AirPlus surveyed a total of 743 top managers in Germany, the U.S., the UK, China, Italy, and France, including CEOs, CFOs, and heads of sales, for this survey.

About AirPlus International:

AirPlus International is a leading international provider of solutions in the corporate payment segment. 48,000 corporate customers rely on AirPlus when it comes to paying for and analyzing their business travel and other purchasing activities. The company’s products and services are marketed worldwide under the AirPlus International brand. AirPlus is an issuer under the UATP and Mastercard card schemes. The AirPlus company account is the most successful billing account within the UATP. For more information, visit

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