With business travel in Europe once again hampered by testing and even containment measures, it is difficult to imagine what 2022 will look like for business travellers and their travel managers. But the Travel Management Institute (TMI) has tried to do just that, based on the testimonies of around 100 travel buyers, managers and executives in the EMEA region gathered at the end of November. These travel management professionals logically envisage a slashed travel budget: 48% of them expect to halve their budget compared to the 2019 financial year. Internal meetings will be one of the main savings levers activated next year: a quarter (25%) of travel budgets will be allocated to them, compared to 50% in 2019.

However, the return of business travel is the number one priority for the travel managers surveyed. This is followed by the duty of care, traveller well-being and the implementation of sustainable practices. As for the control of the travel budget, it loses two places in the ITM ranking, and will rank sixth in the 2022 agenda of travel buyers.

The ITM study also compiles the challenges that travel managers will face over the next 12 months. Unsurprisingly, it is the regulatory environment that is currently causing concern. The complexity of border restrictions is cited by the largest number of travel managers, along with quarantine and testing protocols. ” 88% of respondents believe that this factor would be the first to have a negative impact on their confidence in business travel volumes next year,” say the authors of the study.

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Furthermore, the crisis seems to have had a significant impact on the competition between air and rail. Indeed, according to the results published by ITM, a comfortable majority of travel buyers (58%) anticipate a shift from air to rail in 2022. This trend was already observed last year, but the proportion was then limited to one third of respondents (33%).