The lines have been blurred between leisure and business travel, according to a survey at the Arabian Travel Market (ATM) held in Dubai last week.
The study by technology provider Sabre also highlights the retail opportunities for the travel industry from travellers’ spend on what it calls “revenge travel”.
Two-thirds of travel leaders participating in the survey indicated that they believe travel will fully return to pre-pandemic levels by the end of 2024, with one third indicating in the survey that they believe this will happen in 2025 or beyond.
Senior vice president and global managing director at Sabre Hospitality, Frank Trampert, said: “One thing that struck us as we were carrying out the research was the unprecedented pace of change in the past few months.
“While domestic, leisure travel continues to lead recovery, corporate is narrowing the gap, and hoteliers are benefiting from this ‘bleisure’ growing trend.”
Participants at ATM were questioned about the impact of the pandemic on their customers and business travel, as well as the implications for the future of the travel industry.
The survey indicated that complexity is likely to become increasingly challenging for the industry, with travellers now considering more decision factors before booking a trip.
Key trends identified by surveyed agencies in the Sabre-Dr.Fried research include the importance of organised and connected trips to cut through travel complexities for customers.
Vice president of Sabre Travel Network Middle East, Abdul-Razzaq Iyer, said: “Our latest Sabre research has highlighted a degree of optimism across the travel ecosystem. However, it also suggested that not all travel leaders may be ready for these potential changes if they happen quickly.”
He said there is a clear need for agility, transformation and collaboration so that travel agencies, airlines and other industry players can ensure they are in a position to identify these changes, strategise for future growth opportunities and improve the experience for travellers.
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