Dr. Gregory Finkelson Talks About Business Travel Post-Pandemic
Wondering what travel might be like after the pandemic? International business expert Gregory Finkelson offers some valuable insights.
Global travel has been thrown into turmoil over the last few years owing to the COVID-19 pandemic. Many businesses have stopped sending employees abroad and have canceled conferences and other events. Dr. Gregory Finkelson, who specializes in international business, believes that global business travel will boom once the COVID-19 pandemic finally subsides.
“Some people think that the world will shift away from travel and even working in offices after the pandemic,” Dr. Gregory Finkelson notes. “While habits may be altered permanently, business travel will remain important. Face-to-face meetings are for many companies.”
Business travel plummeted by more than 50 percent globally in 2020. Overall spending on corporate travel in the United States declined by over 70 percent. Many other countries saw similar drops in travel. Even in the European Union, with its relatively open borders, travel declined substantially.
Travel began to increase this past summer and spring. For some weeks, it looked like the pandemic might finally be brought under control. However, a surge in COVID-19 cases caused governments to shut borders once again.
“It’s unfortunate but understandable that travel and society, in general, has not returned to normal,” Dr. Gregory Finkelson says. “Throughout the rest of 2021 and into 2022, business travel should largely be restricted to necessary travel only.”
Still, the COVID-19 pandemic will likely be brought under control with time. Many businesses have shied away from not just travel, but also international projects. Once the pandemic is brought under control, many plans stuck on the back burner may move to the top of the to-do list.
“Many businesses are still planning various projects, such as entering new markets or setting up subsidiaries in foreign countries,” Dr. Gregory Finkelson notes. “While these plans have been put on hold, many projects will go forward once travel opens up. This could lead to a boom in business travel.”
Dr. Gregory Finkelson Offers Tips if Travel Becomes Expensive
Business travel may pick up slowly at first as countries open up borders and airlines resume flights. Initially, companies may hesitate to send employees abroad. But as travel becomes normalized again, there might be a flurry of travel and international activity.
“Companies need to prioritize both travel and projects. Travel costs right now are pretty expensive because fewer flights are scheduled,” Dr. Gregory Finkelson says. “Hotels also know that anyone traveling is probably on must-attend business. This could encourage room prices to increase.”
If you’re tight on money, you may want to avoid business travel not only right now, but also during the first few months after travel normalizes. While costs may initially rise, they should stabilize and cool off over time.
“Good travel deals may be hard to find any time soon, but eventually prices will normalize,” Dr. Gregory Finkelson says. “You don’t want to put off vital travel but you may want to hold off on lower priority projects.”