April 22, 2024

Business travel unfairly assigned to a select few, says SAP Concur report

Over half of business travellers (58%) think they haven’t always had an equal opportunity to take business trips compared to their co-workers for reasons relating to their demographics, sexual orientation, physical appearance or health conditions.

This was one of the key findings of research released today by SAP Concur, which found 26% of Gen Z business travellers say they haven’t had the same opportunity for business travel as others because of their age, while 18% of women believe they received less opportunity for business travel because of their gender.

The Global Business Travel Survey also showed the appetite for business travel is returning, with 89% of employees believing the future of their career is dependent on successful business travel in the coming year.

Over two thirds (71%) said they are very willing to travel for business in the next 12 months, an increase from 55% who were very willing to travel last year.

Including those who are perhaps slightly less eager, all those surveyed were willing to travel for business over the next 12 months.

The survey also found the uncertain economy is impacting business travel for 88% of employees, with 36% viewing inflation as the biggest threat and 37% impacted by reduced travel budgets.

For 30% of participants, the economy has led their company to require travellers to stay in lower quality accommodations and/or in less safe areas.

Travel managers also cite inflationary impacts causing increased costs for the same amount of travel (39%) as their top challenge this year.

While 99% of travel managers expect their company’s travel policies will change in the next 12 months, 36% believe this will happen specifically to accommodate travellers’ needs for flexible options, such as booking directly with suppliers.

However, flexibility in booking can collide with travel managers’ efforts to ensure safety and rein in costs, with 34% of travel managers saying that travellers booking directly is one of the biggest threats to their company’s business travel.

“The business and career benefits of business travel are undeniably crucial to the success of employees and companies alike,” says Paul Dear, Regional VP of Supplier Services EMEA at SAP Concur.

“Our research underscores the balancing act companies must maintain, as they identify and empathize with travellers’ needs for flexibility and their expectations regarding diversity and inclusion or sustainability – while facing the reality of company travel policy and budget constraints.”

The 2023 SAP Concur Global Business Travel Survey features findings from 3,850 global business travellers across 25 markets, including the UK, Germany, France, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland, Italy, Spain, South Africa, and Benelux in EMEA, and from 700 global travel managers in the UK, US, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Mexico, Malaysia and Singapore.

The research was conducted by Wakefield Research between April 7 and April 28 2023.