The future of business travel: Digital nomads and "bleisure" define the new high-tech take on work trips
The coronavirus pandemic served as a temporary kill shot to the business travel industry. A tech-savvy and adaptable hospitality industry is rising from these ashes in the remote work era.
On short notice, the coronavirus pandemic brought global travel to a standstill. In April 2020, US airline passengers decreased 96% compared with April 2019, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics data. At the same time, many organizations adopted remote work policies to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, and business conferences were transformed into virtual affairs with varying degrees of success. These components in tandem served as a temporary kill shot to the multi-billion dollar business travel industry.
The all-but flatlined travel industry particularly impacted the Dunwoody metro area located 20-minutes north of Atlanta. In 2019, business travelers represented 61% of Dunwoody visitors. In April of 2020, the occupancy rate in the area was at 7%, according to Steven Schumacher, director of sales at Discover Dunwoody.
While Schumacher is confident business travel will return to its pre-pandemic levels, in a post-pandemic world he foresees the rise of the digital nomad and increased travel among people who choose to merge professional lives with vacation.