Airbnb boss says decline in business travel to be offset by rise in larger corporate events

Business travel has taken a huge hit thanks to Covid-19, but some are predicting it may never return to pre-pandemic levels.

Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky told there has been a “redistribution of travel”.

“I think there are three big trends we will see in the permanent change of travel,” he said.

“In a world of more flexibility, we are never ever going back to the world of 2019.

“It means business travel as we know it has changed forever. People are not going to get on a plane for single meetings as much as they used to. The bar is now higher.”

Chesky predicted that while business travel will decrease, larger corporate events would see an increase.

“The pandemic led to the acceleration of adoption of the internet to really fundamentally change travel in a way we have never seen,” he said.

“This is the biggest change in travel since World War II.”

Not surprisingly, Airbus chief executive Guillaume Faury does not share the same view, telling Swiss newspaper NZZ am Sonntag that business air travel will slowly return to close to pre-pandemic levels.

“Companies realised: at some point they have to meet their customers and suppliers in person again,” he said.

“At some point they must be on site to develop products or build factories.

“That is what airlines are telling us, since they must decide now how their planes will be seated in future. And we see that they are planning as many seats in business class as before the pandemic.”