Jun 22, 2021

Honest Reflections on a Recent Business Travel Trip


I just finished a business travel trip for a keynote in Florida, as well as a few days of needed rest and relaxation with my wife. I have traveled to clients three other times during the pandemic, while business travel was relatively dormant, but this most recent excursion gave me a good read on the current state of the industry.

If you are planning to travel this summer, here are three things you need to know.

  1. It is expensive. Prices are pretty inflated right now, well beyond the value. Beyond just airfare, both dining and lodging are charging premium prices at the moment.

  2. It is crowded — on flights, in hotels, and in restaurants – at most cultural hotspots. Don’t expect to have a quiet time. Everyone has been dormant from travel for 15 months and it shows.

  3. Service levels are low. Hotels, restaurants, and airports are understaffed and it shows. The quality of service has not returned to pre-pandemic levels. As unemployment benefits run out and staffs return to normal levels, I would expect that to change.

Travel was an industry on life support during the past 15 months. It has been historically propped up by business travelers, but they were absent during the pandemic, too. It is clear that the hospitality industry is trying to capitalize on the surging demand as we reemerge from the pandemic. They are filling capacity while understaffed, resulting in a pretty bad experience for the seasoned traveler.

If you plan to return to the skies this summer, expect high prices, crowded experiences, and low service levels. This is not necessarily a bad commentary, as it is a necessary evil of seeing our travel sector try to rebound. But, for business travelers, airlines and hotels know now that their competitor is not the other airlines, but zoom and video conferences.

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