New York Business Travel Barometer

New Yorkers, like the rest of the world, are still in the midst of an extended period of uncertainty and instability due to the pandemic that changed how and where we work, and travel.

To provide deeper insight on whether New Yorkers are back to business, we examined and analysed HQ ground travel data from over 50 clients and 70 car providers from the Tri-State Area
(NY, NJ, CT).


Mar 22 NY Business Travel Barometer

% of 2019 Tri-State Business Ground Travel

As covered on Business Travel News

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Omicron reversed a year of recovery in ground travel, but we predict ride volume levels to bounce back by April 2022

Business travel was impacted significantly yet at 16% of 2019 levels in Q1 2022, there are signs of resilience and recovery compared to Q1 2021

Tri-State area average ride price increased by 15-28%, due to driver shortages, rising fuel prices, insurance rates and inflation

Omicron, combined with post-holiday slump, drove down number of employees in office in Jan. However, based on 2021 trends, we predict this to recover to 35% by March.

Employees are requesting rides outside of traditional “late night ride home” with morning rides rising significantly from 6% to 20-40% in line Covid cases & Omicron spike

New York is in the midst of an extended period of uncertainty and instability, but we predict fast recovery

We saw a steady recovery in Q4 2021, reaching 40% of 2019 ground travel levels by December 2021. The number of employees back at the office has doubled, rising from 20% in early 2021 to 43% in Q4 2021, showing employee confidence and desire to work from the office. 

In January, Omicron reversed a lot of the recovery we have seen in Q4 2021, with business travel back at 24% of 2019 levels and only 18% of employees going to the office. But based on the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation Covid-19 projections,  Covid-19 cases will decrease, and at a faster rate than previous waves.  We believe that that business travel will recover and bounce back with speed.  

In February, we see a 20% increase of January 2022 levels in business travel and our predictive analysis estimates that corporate travel will reach 40% of 2019 level by April 2022, and we will see 35% of employees back at the office increase by end of Q1 2022 – a notable increase from January 2022’s 18%. 

Employers have proactively updated their travel policies to cater to the changing employee commuter behavior.  In particular, travel policies now include morning and afternoon hours, far beyond the traditional late-night-in-the-office ride home. 

Our insights have shown that employees actively seek a secure and safe mode of transportation when commuting to the office, especially during 6-9 am travel time.  Demand for morning rides significantly increased between Q2 and Q3 2020. 

Towards the end of 2021, morning ride volume remains double when compared to the pre-pandemic period, and with Omicron’s impact, we saw the numbers rise again.  This is indicative of the long-term change in commuter behavior as well as company policies as employees seek safer travel options.

The Impact of Inflation on Corporate Travel

From our research, we have identified that inflation is impacting ride prices with an 28% average increase in ride price. 

Ride price increase has been impacted by the vehicle and driver shortages, and rising fuel prices,  insurance rates, and premiums. This is in addition to inflation with the consumer price index jumping to 7.3% in January 2022, the largest annual advance since early 1982. 


The Comeback of Corporate Travel 

At HQ, we are confident that ground travel will continue to rise in the months to come, and our team is on board to make the transition easier. 

For corporates now is the time to have a single solution to manage and handle all ground travel requests and demands.  We take care of it all, from booking, payment, and billing to selecting your preferred supplier or using one of our ride providers using HQ Connect. 

With HQ Connect, we make safety a top priority to help protect the health and safety of all employees combined with ride reliability to ensure trust and peace of mind. 


Review coverage on Business Travel News 



HQ’s data of rides all around the New York metropolitan area generates insights along with rides, employees, and car providers trends. Charted percentages, which form the basis of our business travel barometer, reflect ride volume that we see from our clients in comparison to 2019 levels. The Covid-19 projection data is based on Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation forecasts.