Business travel was one of the segments affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. As the world got used to online work, there were concerns that it would never return — at least not to the same level it was in 2019. But a new study found good news when it comes to the return of business travel.

The survey, conducted by the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA), found that 77 percent of business travelers and 64 percent of employed Americans are ready to travel for business once again. The study also found that 64 percent of business travelers believe the increased reliance on virtual work has negatively affected productivity and 65 percent believe it has negatively affected workplace culture.

Forty-three percent of responding Americans said they are more likely to travel for business when compared to 2020 and 2021.

“The last two years of virtual work arrangements and travel restrictions have underscored the importance of travel and face-to-face meetings for businesses, employees and customers alike,” AHLA President Chip Rogers said. “These results are proof of that.” ”

Most respondents said face-to-face interactions are important to a company, with 80 percent of employed Americans and 86 percent of business travelers agreeing. A similar number (85 percent of employed Americans and 88 percent of business travelers) said face-to-face interactions are important for establishing and maintaining relationships with their clients.

“Most Americans recognize the unmatched value business travel and face-to-face meetings provide,” Rogers continued. “And after the last two years, the return of business travel is more important than ever.”