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Understanding the impact of COVID-19 on business travel: Chubb survey report

man on a plane

Business travelers believe that the pandemic will permanently change business travel in the future. 

As businesses and families prepare for a return to a version of normality, what are their perceptions about the impact of the pandemic on travel? What was lost during this period of severely limited travel? How did it impact the effectiveness of business travelers and their employers? In a remote working environment, with few or no opportunities to travel, what worked and what didn’t?

According to a recent Chubb survey1, business travelers around the world believe the COVID-19 pandemic and related travel restrictions have negatively impacted their effectiveness on the job as well as the ability of their employers to develop business, serve clients and maintain business relationships. At the same time, business travelers report that they have personally missed traveling for work and leisure, and are eager to get back on the road.

This is the first survey of its kind to gauge the views of business travelers across the world — in the United States, Europe, Asia Pacific and Latin America.


Key business travel survey findings

As businesses make decisions about future travel budgets, return to office, and new post-pandemic criteria for traveling to meet with clients, develop business or attend conferences, the survey findings address key attitudes about a return to business travel and how the lockdown has impacted business.

  • Globally, 80% or more of business travelers believe they are missing something important when they cannot see body language or other visual clues that you can only get in an in-person meeting.
  • Nearly three out of four business travelers (74%) say they are less effective in their job due to the pandemic and severely limited travel opportunities. Areas that have been negatively impacted include client service and the ability to maintain relationships with clients and business partners.
  • With the proper precautions, respondents are twice as likely to feel more comfortable traveling for business than for leisure. One reason cited: business is important to their livelihood.

One of the most striking findings of our survey is how much business travelers in all regions agree: The pandemic, and the travel limitations that came with it, have cost business travelers and their employers the ability to effectively serve clients and maintain relationships with clients and business partners. This was the view of nearly 75% of respondents around the world. It didn't matter where they live, how much they earn or how frequently they travel.

Chris Martin, Division President,
North America Accident and Health

  • A clear majority of business travelers (69%) expect that company travel budgets will be trimmed in a post-COVID world to reduce expenses.
  • 75% of business travelers are willing to pay more to keep the middle seat open when they fly.
  • 87% of business travelers have been personally concerned about contracting COVID-19 during the pandemic, and take steps to protect themselves, including wearing masks and social distancing. A smaller share (74%) say they always follow government rules.  Another 24% say they sometimes follow COVID restrictions. Adherence to COVID-19 safety protocols is highest among travelers in Latin America at 87%.

This document is advisory in nature and is offered as a resource to be used together with your professional insurance advisors in maintaining a loss prevention program. It is an overview only, and is not intended as a substitute for consultation with your insurance broker, or for legal, engineering or other professional advice.

Chubb is the marketing name used to refer to subsidiaries of Chubb Limited providing insurance and related services. For a list of these subsidiaries, please visit our website at Insurance provided by ACE American Insurance Company and its U.S. based Chubb underwriting company affiliates. All products may not be available in all states. This communication contains product summaries only. Coverage is subject to the language of the policies as actually issued. Surplus lines insurance sold only through licensed surplus lines producers. Chubb, 202 Hall's Mill Road, Whitehouse Station, NJ 08889-1600.


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