April 24, 2024

Amex: UK companies plan to spend more on business travel

More than two thirds of UK businesses plan to invest more in business travel over the next 12 months, according to the latest research by American Express.

A survey of both business travellers and decision makers found 68% plan to ramp up their business travel spending by 50% or more compared to current levels and around 42% are looking to increase the amount of business travel they undertake.

The vast majority (82%) confirmed that business travel plays a key role in driving revenue, profitability and enabling growth, while 60% plan to expand into new UK regions and 35% want to enter new international markets. 

The research also found:

  • 73% state travel is valuable for connecting remote
  • 20% say they are doing more trips to bring teams together
  • 70% of business travellers believe face-to-face meetings are essential in achieving their business objectives  
  • 42% of business travellers state they prefer when they can blend business travel with leisure time
  • 43% of businesses stating they are finding new ways to help employees enjoy ‘bleisure’  
  • 79% of businesses state they have increased their focus on employee wellbeing when travelling
  • 71% say they would leave their role if their employer didn’t prioritise their wellbeing during their trips  
  • 62% of travellers think there is more their employer can do to make trips easy, productive, and fuss-free for their teams
  • 74% of travellers agree that perks such as flying business class and getting access to lounges allow them to be more productive on their trips 
  • 31% of businesses affirm they’d like their business travel to be ‘greener’ but aren’t sure how to achieve this.
  • 71% of travellers worry about the environmental impact of their trips
  • 78% of business travellers state they are more conscious of their carbon footprint when travelling than previously.  

Hana Lear, Vice President, Corporate, UK Card Services at American Express, said: “Businesses had no choice but to press pause on a lot of travel over the last two years and lean on virtual alternatives to build relationships with customers and colleagues. Our research shows that business travel and the value of in-person connections in driving growth go hand in hand.   

“However, there’s clearly a renewed focus on the entire business travel experience to ensure both companies and employees maximise the value of trips.”

Opinium carried out the research on behalf of American Express between July 25-29 amongst 500 business travellers and 500 senior business travel decision makers from SMEs with 1-249 employees and large businesses with over 250 employees in the UK.