5 Barriers to Business Travel’s Recovery

It’s worth thinking about what’s going to stand in the way of demand for business trips. Yes, the Covid problem is a huge barrier, but it goes beyond that. I see five related barriers that our industry will have to reckon with. Here’s the short story on my LinkedIn page: https://bit.ly/5_Barriers_to_Business_Travel New connections are welcomed.

The longer, richer read follows. Fair warning – it is a sobering assessment.

1. Virtual Work

The more that work gets done virtually, the more that virtual meetings will eliminate demand for business travel. Pre-Covid, virtual meetings were a known alternative to traveling, but a clear downgrade in terms of interpersonal impact and, frankly for some, status. Many travelers and their managers were quick to decide “It’s better if we do this meeting in person.”

Post-Covid, managers up and down the ranks are forced to use virtual collaboration tools, like ’em or not. Guess what? They work. For a lot of meetings, across a lot of use cases, and for an awful lot of people. Today, managers are building up a comfort level with virtual work, and that means trouble for travel.

If employees don’t have to go to an office to get their work done, why would they need to travel to get their work done?

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Fresh Signs of Travel’s Recovery

No doubt you’re searching for credible signs of the travel industry’s recovery.  Well, you’ll want to bookmark this site, BCG’s TRIP, with a bunch of gold stars.

Use this no-cost site to gain clickable global, regional and country-level insights about:

  • Consumer sentiment and intent to travel
  • Recent trends in travel searches and ticketing
  • Forward travel build-ups based on searches and tickets
  • Covid case and death rate trends by country/region
  • Country-to-country travel dependencies and current search/travel indicators
  • Government restrictions and economic indicators

* The Travel Recovery Insights Portal (yes, TRIP) is designed and produced by BCG in collaboration with ARC and 3Victors. TRIP will be updated weekly with fresh data. For those not familiar with these firms, ARC is the airlines’ clearinghouse for tickets sold by U.S. travel agencies; BCG is a leading global management consulting firm, and 3Victors is a big data company specializing in GDS searches and airfares.

This site is a classic example of key industry players working together for the common good.  This complimentary site will be available indefinitely – likely until the shape and pace of the travel industry’s recovery becomes much more clear.

Δ Innovation kudos for:

  • Displaying GDS search data – talk about a leading indicator!
  • Including nights away as a metric – very helpful for the hospitality crowd
  • Country-level travel partners – quick way to gauge international travel recovery prospects

If you like TRIP ‘s information, but want more detailed data or passenger demand estimates for major markets, please contact


New Chapter, New Focus

It’s a tough time to say goodbye to all the great folks at ARC.  May 15th will be my last day there.

Like so many other fine firms, ARC is facing the pressures of the travel industry’s epic downturn. A special thanks to Mike Premo, Lauri Reishus, Dickie Oliver, Tom Casalino, Eric Barger, Doug Mangold,  Arun Gupta, Chuck Thackston, Ben Kean, Noah Robins, Vanny Zhang, Kristen Ebersole, Chuck Fischer, Shelly Younger, Sarah Boyd, Steve Solomon, Peter Abzug, Peter Kane, Megan Leader, John Pittman, Dan Swain, Heather Unger, Tanya Nass, Sofi Momen, Sohum Karia, Paul Barber, Brian Coleman and Rich Licato for your leadership, collegiality, insights and commitment to serving ARC’s customers. I am very grateful for the time I spent working with so many good people, and surely wish all of you well in your efforts to re-position ARC for the years ahead.

So what’s next?  It’s hard to imagine a bigger question than the one surrounding the travel industry’s recovery. There will be massive changes ahead, and that means plenty of opportunities for innovation.

This blog will focus  initially on the innovations and adaptations meant to bring about the travel industry’s recovery.  I’m curious to see what comes to market, and impatient to see what works.  If you’d like to share something along these lines, I’ll be at scott@tclara.com

NB: This blog’s title had been Gillespie’s Guide to Travel + Procurement. This blog has all of the prior posts, but the page menu has changed to reflect the new focus.