Business travelers made up 12% of airline passengers and accounted for 75% of airline business profits . There were more than 470 million business travels within the US alone in 2019 . But these numbers have dwindled during COVID-19.
Even when travel resumes in the future, there will be significant precautionary measures and discomfort that will make travel expensive and cumbersome. Social distancing norms will force airports and airlines to limit the number of passengers at any given time. Airlines will implement safety and health monitoring measures like temperature screening that will require travelers to reach the airport earlier than before. For instance, Emirates is carrying out blood tests at the airport before flights . The boarding process can change to have sufficient distance between passengers . There could be a separate line for those who survived the virus.
Hotels will also station temperature monitoring and health screening devices at the entrance. Common areas and rooms will be equipped with sanitizers and soaps.
We will become more cautious travelers, opting to travel only when absolutely necessary and will create strong virtual touchpoints to avoid the risks of traveling.
Businesses will have to prepare for this shift in travel patterns and preferences of their workforce. The face-to-face business meetings, conferences, and meetups will have to be converted to virtual meetings on video conferencing tools without mobilizing their workforce for travel.
Several conferences are already being organized digitally for participants from across the globe to join. For instance, Red Hat Summit (April 28-29, 2020) , IBM Think 2020 (May 5-7, 2020) , and Cisco Live (June 2-3, 2020)  have been turned into virtual events that people will attend without leaving their homes.