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Business travelers lament the inadequacies of virtual meetings and express a desire for decision-making authority, according to a BCD Travel survey.

When it comes to business travel policy in a post-pandemic world, poll respondents are most concerned about the ability to choose whether or not to go (64 percent ). Additionally, they want a more simpler travel clearance procedure (58 percent) and for direct flights to be prioritized (53 percent ).

Concerns are being expressed by business travelers regarding their dependency on screen-based contact as their major mode of communication. They are also seeking control, comfort, and simplicity now more than ever, according to a new study of 738 business travelers globally. BCD Travel, a leading travel management firm, conducted the study from July 6 to July 20.

While virtual meetings and remote work will continue to grow in popularity, business travel and face-to-face meetings will remain critical. 76 percent of study respondents stated that business travel enables them to work more productively. 60% of respondents prefer to return to pre-pandemic levels of business travel in a post-pandemic environment, while 26% prefer to travel less and 9% prefer to travel more.

When it comes to business travel policy in a post-pandemic world, poll respondents are most concerned about the ability to choose whether or not to go (64 percent ). Additionally, they want a more simpler travel clearance procedure (58 percent) and for direct flights to be prioritized (53 percent ).

When it comes to remote vs face-to-face meetings, 74% cite in-person customer meetings as the primary reason for business travel, followed by team development, sales meetings, and meetings with partners or suppliers.

The top travel concerns remain similar with data from past BCD traveler surveys. Travelers are most concerned with quarantine upon arrival, followed by abrupt closures and fast changing travel rules.

While respondents believe remote work and meetings will continue to exist, they are woefully inadequate in terms of connection development. According to them, the primary disadvantages of virtual meetings are as follows:

Absence of interpersonal interaction (66 percent )
Interaction is limited (58 percent )
Simple diversion (54 percent )
Unsuitability for some sorts of meetings (51 percent )
“Zoom fatigue” and technology-related concerns (49 percent )

“Face-to-face meetings are crucial not just for accomplishing business objectives, but also for satisfying organizations’ demand for efficiency and human interaction,” said Mike Janssen, BCD Travel’s Global Chief Operating Officer and Chief Commercial Officer. “With immunizations increasing by the millions daily, the bulk of the workforce is ready to return to work, notwithstanding recent COVID-19 variant outbreaks. Corporations must continue to provide advice in a post-pandemic world. To remain an appealing employer in this rapidly changing market, they should also consider giving employees the ability to make their own travel arrangements.”

“While the epidemic is gradually fading in certain regions of the world, others may continue to rely on virtual meetings,” said Scott Graf, Global President of BCD Meetings & Events. “Event planners and managers must develop a new skill set that enables them to compensate for the shortcomings of virtual meetings, such as a lack of engagement. Training or outsourced help may be necessary to maintain employee attention and motivation in an ever-changing environment.”

Additionally, respondents offered their perspectives on the future of employment. Currently, 57% work remotely, up from 24% prior to the epidemic. When questioned about his or her future location of employment,

71% choose a combination of remote and office work.
20% choose remote employment on a full-time basis.
Only 6% choose full-time office work.

In response to a question regarding bleisure:

49% say they would consider extending a work trip for a few leisure days.
38% like to travel for work with a partner or friend, 33% want to prolong their stay and continue remote working from the destination, and 32% contemplate combining a business trip with a 1-2 week vacation.