Business travel is slowly returning among U.S. marketers, according to the Association of National Advertisers (ANA), and the key reason appears to be the growing percentage of fully vaccinated individuals. As vaccinations continue, the ANA expects business travel among marketers to pick up, at least somewhat, later this year, and more so in 2022.

The ANA’s survey, conducted in early May, revealed that 77 percent of vaccinated respondents said they would be willing to travel domestically for either personal or business reasons, compared to 23 percent when the ANA conducted a similar survey in February. The study also showed that an increasing number of companies are now allowing business travel for their executives compared to the previous report.

These findings are consistent with additional data the ANA has gathered, showing that more than 87 percent of respondents indicated they had received the COVID-19 vaccine and an additional 7.5 percent said they were planning to be vaccinated. Five percent said they do not plan to receive the vaccine.

Almost 25 percent of ANA brand marketers indicated they now allow executive travel, compared to only 10.3 percent of respondents in February. At the same time, the recent survey showed that while almost 57 percent of respondent companies still did not allow business travel, that number was down from 76 percent in February. Among marketing solutions providers, 37 percent said they now permit business travel while 46 percent of nonmember organizations do the same.

“This new report shows business travel is strengthening, but we still have a long way to go before we reach pre-COVID levels,” says ANA CEO Bob Liodice. “However, the good news is that the vaccine seems to be encouraging greater travel, and that is an important finding as our industry struggles to return to some degree of normalcy. We’re confident that the situation will continue to improve with time.”

Asked when they anticipated their companies to allow business travel, respondents said they expected to see a slight uptick in September followed by a larger increase “sometime” in 2022. However, the ANA notes that a significant number of respondents indicated they were still “not sure” when travel would be allowed.