Amid the effects of COVID-19, businesses are utilizing virtual conference tools where international travel would have previously been arranged. In the future, travel solely for business will likely be re-considered as company strategies still look to keep costs low.

As the number of companies working from home due to lockdown and social distancing increases, businesses are pressured to adapt. This is to ensure that operations remain efficient. Usage of virtual conference services have encountered a dramatic increase. This is because these systems provide an effective alternative for business interactions to continue as current mass lockdowns restrict travel.

Prior to the coronavirus pandemic the business travel industry was booming, with 200 million global international departures having taken place in 2019 for this purpose (15.3% of total outbound travel). Pre Covid-19 figures originally looked for YOY growth of 5.1% reaching 210 million by the end of 2020. The amount of business interactions during this year will undoubtedly continue aided by the virtual world. However, the number of actual international departures for this purpose will be much lower.

Source: GlobalData Traveler and Demands database

Companies will still look to save costs where possible post Covid-19

In order to survive during this existential crisis, cost evaluation has been a primary action taken by all businesses to conserve cash reserves and remain in operation. Areas that have been deemed ‘non-essential’ have been cut, including marketing budgets and travel for business.

When the spread of the virus begins to ease, company management will likely look to increase budgeting in areas such as marketing and promotion in an attempt to recover revenue targets for 2020. Virtual conferencing tools offer a company an alternative way to continue interaction with clients. They are overall more cost efficient than an international business trip. Therefore the value of business travel will likely be re-evaluated, leaving virtual conferences to remain the ‘social norm’ for a considerable length of time.

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