Eurostar reports a strong return of business travel

Eurostar reports a strong return of business travel in the first six months of 2022. According to Eurostar data, the recovery of business travel between London and Paris was fastest among French and American companies. In addition, the banking, luxury and consultancy sectors are driving the business travel market.
With Eurostar on 75% of its pre-pandemic schedule, business travel will be back at 70% of 2019 levels in the first half of 2022 and business accounts will increase by 40% between 2019 and 2022. Research commissioned by the high-speed rail company points to companies’ strong confidence in European business travel: 78% of business travelers expect to travel more or the same amount between the UK and Europe compared to 2019.

Face-to-face contact between companies and customers is the driving force behind travel, according to 90% of respondents. More than half (58%) of companies claim this is a more efficient way of doing business, supporting team morale and improving relationships with colleagues and customers. This allays fears that the new hybrid or work-from-home model would mean the end of regular business trips.

François Le Doze, COO of Eurostar, comments: “Business travel has resumed faster in 2022 than we expected, especially when you consider that we are still only at about three quarters of our pre-pandemic timetable. We are confident that this trend will continue beyond the summer period, also as September is traditionally a busy month for business travel.”

Trend work + leisure
A strong “work plus leisure” or “bleisure” trend has emerged during the pandemic, as workers choose to use the flexibility of being able to work from anywhere to balance work with family time. More than a quarter of business travelers feel the need to make up for lost time during the pandemic by extending work trips for leisure purposes, according to the survey and 86% are considering this approach by 2022. Eurostar’s data confirms this: 85% of business trips those booked in May and June include a stay of at least one night.

François Le Doze: “Over the past two years we have all enjoyed the flexibility of working from home and many want to protect the extra free time or time with family that came with it. For regular business travelers, the option to extend work trips to explore a new destination and enjoy relaxation with friends and family is high on the agenda this year.”

Train vs Airplane
Sustainability is now central to business travel policies in many organisations. This year, more than 20% of Eurostar’s corporate customers will require their employees to travel by train whenever it is a viable option.

The new survey confirms this, with a quarter of respondents saying their employers require train travel for business travel, a figure higher among smaller companies. In addition, more than half of travelers (56%) stated that using sustainable travel options for work is more important now than before the pandemic. The carbon footprint of one flight is the equivalent of 13 Eurostar journeys. Rail can thus play an important role in realizing immediate carbon savings.

“We are delighted to see, in both France and the Netherlands, that governments are following the same path as companies, introducing policies to influence travel choices for the benefit of the environment,” says François Le Doze, “We are committed to working with the industry to work together to further optimize our timetables and connections, making it easier for more passengers to choose the train over the plane.”

Eurostar recently announced a fourth direct train on its popular route between Amsterdam and London. It departs at 07:47 AM from Amsterdam Central Station, thus meeting the needs of the business market better.

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This article is written by

Tijn Kramer