Business travel rebound hit by slowing economy

“It’s all about building relationships,” he said. “It’s hard to do that online.”

Short-term business meetings and employee training sessions, on the other hand, are likely to continue to be held online and are cheaper than in-person, said Grant Caplan, president of Procurigence, a Houston-based consultancy that pays for companies’ business travel spending. Advice, meetings and events.

Even though business travel has resumed, hotels, airlines and airports are still understaffed. A survey of hoteliers released in October by the American Hotel and Lodging Association, a trade group, found that 87 percent of respondents were facing staffing shortages. While that’s an improvement from May, when 97 percent of respondents said they were short-staffed, the current survey results don’t bode well for smooth hotel check-ins.

Flight disruptions, especially in the U.S. and Europe, are notoriously high, especially earlier in the year, due to weather delays, crew shortages or air traffic control and security issues at airports.

Kathy Bedell, senior vice president of Americas and affiliate programs at travel management firm BCD Travel, said that while “we can’t say these disruptions are hindering business travel, they’re clearly complicating” the traveler experience.

Kellie Kessler, a drug clinical researcher in Raleigh, North Carolina, said she has faced too many travel disruptions this year. She recently switched jobs that required her to travel 10% of the time, up from 80% in her previous position.

“The reason I chose a non-travel role is because I can count on one hand how many flights I’ve had on time this year,” she said.

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