What will happen to business travel after the pandemic?

As reported in the latest newsletter from Ben Evans, the debates about future work patterns continue.


Like most things, if you want to understand what’s happing in business it is a good idea to “follow the money”. In this case, it is fascinating to see that large companies are slashing their travel budgets. Having spent so much on virtual meeting technologies and social distancing measures, the travel budgets have shrunk dramatically. On top of this we must add the current sentiments about sustainability, carbon footprint, and reduced energy use.

In old money, the budgets were huge:

A look at the numbers: Cognizant has 300,000 employees, and before Covid spent between $250 million and $300 million on air travel alone, according to Drew Mitchell, its regional travel director for the Americas.

Capgemini, meanwhile has 250,000 employees, of which 80,000 used to travel worldwide. In 2019 it spent $600 million on travel, said Katharina Navarro, its global category manager travel.

They now see big opportunities for savings. In Amazon’s case, as much as $1B a year:

Major savings in Amazon’s own budget — it said it saved nearly $1 billion in corporate travel, internal travel, and travel expenses in October last year.

Looks like I’ll be stuck in front tof this keyboard in my spare bedroom for quite while yet.