October 2, 2023

Travel schedules ‘fall short’ for nearly two thirds of SME travellers

Business travellers at companies with fewer than 1,000 employees are eager to hit the road again but 60% say their current travel schedules are falling short of expectations.

The survey of 1,650 business travellers in six markets, commissioned by SAP Concur and conducted by Wakefield Research, found:

  • 98% are willing to travel for business in the next 12 months, with 54% ‘very’ willing to do so
  • 39% are currently travelling less than they’d like
  • 21% are travelling more than they want, supporting the opinion expressed by most (84%) that their employer is returning to pre-pandemic levels of business travel using a “more travel on fewer shoulders” approach
  • 34% say diminished travel budgets are among the top three threats to business travel
  • 50% also cited rising oil prices and inflation, which was a higher percentage than than those from larger organisations
  • 48% are willing to take action, either within their company or elsewhere, if things don’t improve
  • 26% said they will search for a new position if their schedule doesn’t change
  • 89% are willing to decline a business trip assigned to them for safety, personal, or environmental reasons
  • The top reasons for declining a business trip are health concerns related to Covid 19 (47%) and safety concerns for travelling to certain parts of the world (47%)
  • 80% report the war in Ukraine has impacted their business travel, including 46% who have directly experienced such things as altered flight paths to avoid areas affected by the war or cancelled trips.

“Amidst these concerns and the fluctuations of the current business environment, companies with fewer than 1,000 employees must be especially mindful of meeting their business travellers’ preferences and schedules while staying within pandemic-impacted budgets,” concludes the report.

“Travellers join these organisations for more than just a pay check, and in order to retain them companies need to ensure their employees feel safe and cared for.”