CHICAGO — Deloitte released the third edition of its corporate travel study, which reports that travel to in-person events is the major driver for increased spending in 2023, up from fifth place in 2022. Business travel is on the rise for both industry conferences and internal corporate events, according to Deloitte, and expected to return to pre-pandemic levels by the end of 2024 or early 2025.
The growth of live events was cited as the biggest trigger for the increased spend in business travel, as professionals travel to meet with clients and prospects, and connect with global industry networks at trade shows and events. Live-event attendance jumped from the fifth biggest trigger for increased spend in 2022 to No. 1 in 2023 for American companies.
According to more than 50% of the respondents in the U.S. and Europe, increased event attendance is expected to drive travel growth in 2023, and in the U.S. event attendance is the greatest driver for international trips.
“It is crucial for event organizers to tend to the networking aspect of their conferences and exhibitions,” Peter Caputo, U.S. Hospitality Leader and Principal at Deloitte, said. “This includes ensuring you continue to attract high-caliber attendees, such as decision makers and industry leaders; providing the space, both physically and on the event agenda, for attendees to organize and execute constructive meetings; and delivering a mix of content and social events that help attendees establish new connections.”
According to the report, spending is projected to reach 57% of 2019 levels in the first half of 2023 and reach two-thirds by the end of 2023. As the number of international trips rises, U.S. survey respondents anticipate international’s share of travel costs to grow from 21% in 2022 to 33% in 2023, and European respondents expect it to reach 32% of spend within the continent and 28% outside of it in 2023.
“Corporate travel is slowly but steadily returning. Both business leaders and suppliers are considering not just rising costs of travel, but the necessity of certain in-person meetings amid the increasing use of technology to offset financial and environmental goals,” Caputo said.
The report from Deloitte comes from a survey of 334 travel managers and executives in the U.S. and Europe that ran from Feb. 7-23, 2023.
Reach Peter Caputo at (212) 436-2056