The vast majority (95%) of travellers working for SMEs are willing to travel again for business within the next year and 63% are actively willing to do so, according to new research.
The study, commissioned by SAP Concur, found travellers from small businesses see their companies facing severe consequences if they don’t increase travel soon.
Among their concerns, SME travellers fear there will be fewer deals signed (35%) and a difficulty to build new relationships (33%).
According to SAP Concur, travellers at SMEs are more likely than those at larger companies to have professional concerns about not travelling (79% compared with 72%).
If business travel doesn’t increase in the next 12 months, SME travellers are also concerned for their personal wellbeing, with 40% worried about developing and maintaining business connections and 38% concerned about making less money.
The study also found that 91% expect to change their behaviour in the coming 12 months, including more frequently staying in larger hotels (33%), prioritising domestic trips (33%) and using cars instead of public transportation (31%).
Two thirds also want their employers to adopt a more sustainable approach to business travel in the future.
Ryan Demaray, EMEA MD SMB at SAP Concur, said: “Travellers from within small businesses see an even greater need for business travel than their counterparts at larger companies. They clearly recognise the importance of business travel to the health of their organisation, so are keen for it to restart quickly.
“Despite this appetite, many don’t plan on returning to travel unconditionally. To ensure that employees are okay to travel again, small businesses must recognise their desire for policy and procedural changes that give them the flexibility and control to travel in the most safe and sustainable manner.
“Successful small businesses will adapt through the use of efficient solutions and tools that empower travellers to make the best decisions for their own needs.
“At the same time, travel programmes must meet business objectives such as reducing costs, tracking spending and consolidating travel data. It is possible to integrate travel management within expense application, to increase visibility and make this an easier process.
“Reimagining travel will help improve employee satisfaction and retention while supporting business continuity. Companies that do so will put themselves in position to be more competitive in the future.”
See the September/October issue of The Business Travel Magazine for our in-depth report on SMEs leading the travel restart.