EurostarEurostar estimates that business travel has reached 70% of pre-Covid volumes

Business travel has picked up faster than we expected in 2022, especially considering that we are still only running about three quarters of our pre-pandemic transport plan” . This positive assessment for the business travel ecosystem is made by François Le Doze, Eurostar’s commercial director, who says he is ” convinced that this trend will continue after the summer period, when September is generally an important month for business travel”

. According to figures published on July 18 by the railway company, business travel is now at 70% of 2019 levels. And nearly 8 out of 10 professionals (78%) plan to travel more or as much between the UK and Europe as before the health crisis. At least that’s what the rail company is seeing among its Eurostar corporate customers who have a travel account – the number of corporate accounts managed by Eurostar has actually increased by 40% between 2019 and 2022 – but overall, the trend is more nuanced… Indeed, business travelers plan to travel more (37%) or on an equivalent volume (17%), but a significant share of professionals (41%) expects to review their number of trips downward…

Asked about the reasons for their current business trips, professionals surveyed by Eurostar point unsurprisingly to client meetings (67%), with 37% of them mentioning the fact of working in another place, another office. Internal meetings follow in equal proportions (36%), ahead of supplier meetings (21%) and training (20%).

According to this Eurostar study, the forced use of video-conferencing solutions does not seem to have had an impact on the need to meet. Thus, for 79% of business travelers, it remains important – or even very important (34%) – to continue to have face-to-face meetings.

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Reasons why face-to-face meetings are important (Source: Eurostar) The

impact of the crisis on business travelers’ behavior is clearly based on the new flexibility given to employees. The use of remote working coupled with “revenge travel” – the need to “make up for lost time” during the pandemic – has boosted bleisure. “Over the past two years, we have all appreciated the flexibility of teleworking and many are looking to protect the extra time for leisure or family that it allows,” says François Le Doze. ” For regular business travelers, the ability to extend business trips to explore

a new destination and spending time with friends and family is a priority this year”. Eurostar’s management is thus confirming that the mix between business and leisure has entered a new dimension. According to the company’s study, more than a quarter of business travelers feel the need to make up for time lost during the pandemic by extending their business trips. More importantly, a large majority of them (86%) are now planning to extend their trips as early as 2022. In fact, 85% of business trips booked in May and June include a minimum one-night stay.

More travelers on the sustainable path

The study published on July 18 by Eurostar shows another positive effect of the crisis in the behavior of business travelers and their companies. A majority of travelers (56%) would now consider that ” choosing sustainable business travel is more important now than before the pandemic” . A trend that is logically reflected in travel policies, with priority given to the train in a more assertive way than ever. Eurostar notes that more than 20% of its corporate clients impose the train ” when this option is viable“. In addition, a quarter of those surveyed say that the train is now imposed by the employer for business trips. ” We are committed to working with the rail industry to further optimize our schedules and connections to enable more passengers to choose the train over air travel,” said Le Doze.