Business travel

German business travelers taking longer trips in 2022

German business travelers are taking longer trips and buying more business class tickets than they did before the Covid-19 pandemic, according to research by corporate payments specialist AirPlus International.

AirPlus figures for flight ticket transactions showed a surge in demand from German travelers in the first half of 2022, with billing volume in June just 10% lower than in June 2019.

The AirPlus Business Travel Index also identified shifting trends over the past three years, with the length of business trips by Germans dropping from an average of five days in 2019 to 6.3 days this year. .

This increase in duration was even more pronounced for international trips from Germany, which increased from an average of 11.6 days in 2019 to 14.5 days in 2022. At the same time, the proportion of trips from a day fell from 17% to 7% over the same period.

AirPlus also identified an increase in the number of German organizations booking business class air travel, which rose from 9% in 2019 to 13% this year. This was especially true on domestic flights where the percentage of business class bookings increased from 5% in 2019 to 12% this year.

The study found that some pre-Covid behaviors had started to “return to normal”, such as the wait time for reservations. The average booking time on departure has fallen from 16.3 days in 2021 to 21.4 days this year, compared to an average of 24 days in 2019.

“The trend towards longer business trips is an indication that sustainability is becoming increasingly important to businesses,” said AirPlus CEO Oliver Wagner.

“Employees manage different appointments in one trip instead of shorter individual trips. They travel more consciously but like to do so with more comfort in business class.

“Another possible explanation for longer trips is the trend towards ‘leisure travel’, i.e. combining a business trip with a private trip.”

Another difference compared to 2019 is the booking of certain destinations outside Europe by German business travelers – China and Russia were ranked three years ago as the second and third most popular intercontinental destinations. popular behind the United States.

But while the United States remains the top destination outside Europe in 2022, India and Mexico have replaced China and Russia in the top three.

There has also been a shift in Europe, with Spain taking over from the UK as the top destination for German travellers, with the UK slipping to second place.

“Overall, we’re seeing a strong need for businesses to catch up on all the face-to-face meetings that have only been able to take place virtually over the past couple of years,” Wagner added.

“With the easing of Covid restrictions, companies again have more certainty when planning their business trips. Booking figures for the coming months indicate that the recovery in business travel will continue.

AirPlus is part of the Lufthansa Group, but the company has announced its intention to sell the business.