UK corporates are confident about the return of business travel, according to a new report released today by London North Eastern Railway (LNER) on the Business Travel Show Europe.
The Railway to Recovery report, which interviews the UK’s largest travel buyers with regular business travelers, revealed that 89 per cent of office workers are confident that face-to-face meetings will become the norm by the end of the year.
In the case of the post-epidemic hybrid workforce, 46 percent of those interviewed acknowledged that existing relationships are difficult to maintain and 37 percent believe that the lack of face-to-face meetings will have a negative impact on business progress.
David Horn, managing director of LNER, said: “Our conversations with businesses have shown that face-to-face meetings are more important than ever because people continue to reconnect and reconnect after challenging years.
“Although virtual platforms have grown exponentially, our research has shown that people want to go back and travel for business and reap the benefits of meeting clients and colleagues in person.”
LNER commissioned consultants Thread & Bloom and Nina & Pinta to conduct the research, revealing that environmental and productivity benefits are the main reasons why business travelers travel by rail.
More than half (53 per cent) of people cited in the interview cited working on the move as a reason to prefer rail, and 49 per cent said it was reduced due to environmental reasons.
Given the complexity of the current travel landscape, Horn said he hopes the results will ‘inform and advance’ travel policies across the UK, especially when it comes to the environmental benefits of rail travel.
The report follows the latest publication on rail use by the Office for Rail and Road, which found that for the fourth quarter in a row, LNER saw the most customers return to its services when there were encouraging signs of pre-epidemic levels compared to any other operator. In both leisure and business travel.