Leading global travel manager says business travel more important now than before pandemic


NEW YORK, NY – September 20, 2023 – American Express Global Business Travel (Amex GBT), the world’s leading B2B travel platform, and Harvard Business Review Analytic Services, today released a new report called Investing in Travel to Drive Business Growth: A Strategy for Thriving in Disruption. The work is based on a survey of 425 business respondents around the world.*

Business travel gives companies a valuable return in today’s hybrid world, with most respondents reporting that meeting in person enables dealmaking, company culture and innovation. They recognized attributes that make corporate travel programs effective, while also identifying gaps and areas to improve.


84% agree their organizations realize tangible business value from trips to meet with clients or prospects in person. The majority of respondents also say face-to-face meetings create stronger relationships with customers and are the best meeting method to make sales and initiate discussions with M&A targets.


88% say in-person interactions are critical for ensuring positive, long-term relationships between coworkers. Business travel is a key lever for bringing people together – especially now as teams are more dispersed with organizations embracing hybrid and remote working. Just 7% say their workplace model is completely office based today.


81% agree that in-person interactions foster greater levels of innovation. Seven in 10 say in-person meetings are the best way to facilitate brainstorming.

Colleen Kearney, Global Corporate Travel Leader at US-headquartered aerospace and defense company RTX, says business travel is more important now than it was pre-pandemic. “The results from returning to business travel have been clear. We’re finally getting together with no limitations. You’re just more invested and able to create more opportunities and come up with new ideas because you’ve created personal connections.”


Decision-makers clearly understand the hallmarks of effectively managed business travel, including the need for adequate funding, strategic alignment, and support from executive leadership. However, in practice, the survey found significant gaps between the importance of these ideals and the reality.


The ideal: percent citing attribute as “very important” for a travel program to support the organization The reality: percent citing their travel program has this to a “great extent” The gap
Adequately funded 78% 33% 45 pts
Aligned with overall business strategy 80% 44% 36 pts
Supported by executive leadership 82% 49% 33 pts


Amex GBT President Andrew Crawley said: “The survey findings show strong awareness of business travel’s critical role in connecting people, driving growth and supporting success. Travel is also inherently more complex in a landscape of disruption, making the value of managed business travel more evident than ever. While many companies understand business travel is a strategic investment, it is also clear they see scope for enhancing the value and effectiveness of their travel programs.”

Alex Clemente, Managing Director of Analytic Services at Harvard Business Review, said: “While there is a return to business travel, this report demonstrates the dangers in not maintaining face-to-face relationships with customers, workers, and business partners. Collaboration, innovation, and relationships suffer.”

To find out more about how managed travel drives business growth and supports organizations adapting to hybrid work environments, you can download the full report here.




Notes for editors


Harvard Business Review Analytic Services surveyed 425 members of the Harvard Business Review audience in May 2023. Respondents qualified to complete the survey if they were familiar with their organization’s business travel. 92% of survey respondents are in management levels and above, while 65% work for companies that have 1,000 – 10,000+ employees.


About American Express Global Business Travel

American Express Global Business Travel (Amex GBT) is the world’s leading B2B travel platform, providing software and services to manage travel, expenses, and meetings and events for companies of all sizes. We have built the most valuable marketplace in B2B travel to deliver unrivaled choice, value and experiences. With travel professionals in more than 140 countries, our customers and travelers enjoy the powerful backing of American Express Global Business Travel.

Visit amexglobalbusinesstravel.com for more information about Amex GBT, and follow @amexgbt on Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.

About Harvard Business Review (HBR) Analytics Services

Harvard Business Review Analytic Services is an independent commercial research unit within HBR, conducting research and comparative analysis on important management challenges and emerging business opportunities.