Business travel: the World Cup effect

by Business Travel iQ | 05 July 2018

As we enter the quarter final stages of the world’s biggest football tournament, we ask whether it will affect business travel

Unless you are a hermit, you will know that this week we enter the quarter final stage of the FIFA World Cup. Belgium, Brazil, Croatia, France, Russia, Sweden, Uruguay and, after winning a nail-biting first-ever penalty shootout, England.

What does this have to do with business travel?

There are many ways that the tournament is affecting business in general. A recent survey by Ipsos MORI found that globally, nearly one in four (24%) of those aware of the World Cup will most probably or definitely miss work or school during the tournament. Various studies have been done on the cost of this lost productivity and the estimates range from millions to billions of dollars worldwide.

As well as the cost of people downing tools and streaming the match secretly while at work, there are also the people who take time off to travel to the matches themselves.

Travel data analysts ForwardKeys carried out research at the end of May looking at the uplift in arrivals in host country Russia from various countries around the world. The countries showing the biggest increases are shown in the chart below.


June is typically a good month for business travel, where people tend to try and get work done before the inevitable business slump that happens in July and August.

Travel and expense provider Traveldoo has carried out research among in British and French business travellers to see whether there is a noticeable “World Cup effect”.

Four out of five travellers said they had no plans to cancel or postpone their business trips as a result of the World Cup.

In fact, more than half said that the tournament represented a business opportunity, with 53% saying they would watch games with colleagues and 50% planning to network during football matches.

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