Business travel is poised for a bounce back, according to the latest edition of the American Express Global Business Spend Indicator (GBSI). Key findings include:

● 51% of U.S. businesses expect to spend more on professional services and, of those, 35% anticipate spending more on business travel as COVID-19 restrictions ease, resulting in increased spend with professional service providers in this sector.

● 62% of US businesses anticipate more business spending on travel and entertainment expenses in the next six months, including hotels, airfare and client entertainment.

These findings were further reflected within American Express’ second quarter earnings report, which showed a robust rebound in global travel and entertainment (T&E) spending — surpassing pre-pandemic levels for the first time in April, with a significant uptick in corporate travel. Gunther Bright, executive vice president – global commercial services, said that US businesses are spending more on travel-related professional services and expenses like hotels and airfare. Businesses are making up for lost time, he said, by resuming in-person meetings and conferences, and “are eager to bring back moments of professional connection missed over the last few years.”

Josie Dent, managing economist at Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr), the research firm that conducted the survey, said companies are expecting to increase their spending on business travel over the coming months as COVID-19 restrictions have largely been lifted across many countries. Large businesses, she said, are especially likely to increase their travel spending, with 70% expecting to do so over the next six months. A resumption of business travel following the easing of restrictions, said Dent, is also cited as one of the main drivers of increasing spending on professional services.