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Business travel is showing signs of life

June 29, 2021, 10:01 AM UTC

Good morning.

As business bounces back from the pandemic, there are two areas expected to lag—commercial real estate and business travel. In our latest CEO poll, conducted in collaboration with Deloitte, half the CEOs responding said they plan to reduce their real estate spending over the next twelve months. Only 10% see an increase. Why spend money on big city real estate if your employees are spending half their work time at home?

But on business travel, the message is more mixed. Some 55% see an increase in travel costs over the next 12 months, while only 28% see a decrease. That, of course, could mainly reflect depressed travel levels during the pandemic. But I am also hearing daily about business leaders who have returned to the road. And both airline and hospitality CEOs say they see signs pointing to a much more rapid business travel recovery than generally expected.

“Leisure travel is three times the size of business travel and is coming back faster,” says Stephanie Linnartz, president of Marriott. But business travel is showing signs of life. In particular, she says, “for 2022, our group business is looking quite bright. People are booking sales incentives meetings, trips of that nature. People have realized that Zoom, Teams, doesn’t replace face-to-face.” 

“The best data point is what happened in China,” Linnartz adds. “In China, our business has come back in all segments to 2019 levels.”

By the way, on Friday I passed on a bad link to the poll results.  You can find them here.

Separately, Fortune benchmarks business success in a lot of different ways. We have the Fortune 500 list, Fastest Growing Companies, World’s Most Admired, 100 Best Companies to Work For, and more.  But my personal favorite is the Change the World list, which focuses on companies that use their profit-making superpowers to address pressing social problems.

We are taking nominations now for the 2021 Change the World list, which will publish in October. If you know a company that deserves the honor, you can use this form to nominate it. If you have questions, send them to Matt Heimer and Erika Fry at changetheworld@fortune.com.

More news below.

Alan Murray
@alansmurray

alan.murray@fortune.com

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This edition of CEO Daily was edited by David Meyer.

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