After grinding to a near halt during the COVID-19 pandemic, business trips—and profits for hotels and airlines catering to higher-paying corporate clients—are bouncing back even beyond pre-pandemic levels, per a recent survey from Morgan Stanley Research.
Despite higher airfares and room rates, the survey of 100 global corporate travel managers found that many respondents believe their company's travel expenditures are already back to pre-pandemic levels and will continue to grow. The biggest demand is coming from small companies, which means lower-cost airlines may benefit the more than their bigger peers.
“Travel budgets are expected to see a noticeable improvement in 2022, with 2023 nearly back to ‘normal,’” says Ravi Shanker, an equity analyst covering North American transportation. “Most interesting is that nearly half of the respondents expect 2023 budgets to increase versus 2019 overall. And of those that expect an increase in budgets, the majority believe 2023 budgets will be between 6% to 10% higher than 2019.”
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