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93 Critical Business Travel Statistics: 2019 & 2020 Spending & Concerns Analysis

Category: B2B News

Technology may have opened up new ways for individuals to connect, but there is still no substitute for face-to-face communication. This is why business travel remains important for modern companies. However, if you want to make the most out of your corporate trips, being knowledgeable about the ins and outs of the industry is important. This is where checking business travel statistics becomes necessary.

In this article, we will be discussing everything from the market size of the business travel industry to the concerns of your average corporate traveler. Furthermore, we have provided some data on emerging business travel technologies. This way, it would be easier to understand how to manage your company trips better as well as prepare yourself for the shifting demands of the industry. 

key business travel statistics

1. General Business Travel Statistics

Corporate trips are prevalent now more than ever, thanks to the increasingly globalized business landscape. In fact, millions of business travel initiatives are launched each year. If that’s not enough, a huge fraction of airline company profits now come from business travelers.

Breakdown of Corporate Travel Across the Globe

Companies across the globe understand how important it is to invest in corporate travel. This is why the business travel market size in various countries are predicted to increase in the coming years.

Unfortunately, just as the spending on corporate trips increases, the rates for accommodations, flights, and other travel necessities are also expected to go up soon. In fact, in the most expensive cities for business travel, companies now spend an average of $799 per person per day.

  • The fastest-growing corporate travel markets in the next five years are India (11.3%), Indonesia (8.7%), Sweden (6.8%), Norway (6.6%), and China (3.9%). (Global Business Travel Association, 2018)
  • The most expensive cities in the world for business travel are New York City, USA ($799/day), Geneva, Switzerland ($716/day), Zurich, Switzerland ($661/day), Washington DC, USA ($621/day), and Paris, France ($617/day). These are followed by Reykjavik, Iceland ($615/day), San Francisco, USA ($581/day), Basel, Switzerland ($579/day), Los Angeles, USA ($578/day), and Bern Switzerland ($576/day). (ECA International), 2019)
  • The most expensive business travel location in Asia is Hong Kong, with an average cost of $515 per day. (ECA International), 2019)

Business Trips in the US

American companies are one of the top spenders when it comes to business travel. Simply put, many US companies spend to send their employees on domestic and international trips for business purposes. However, much like the rest of the globe, they are also witnessing an increase in business trips.

  • Business travelers from the US make more than 405 million long-distance trips per annum. (Bureau of Transportation Statistics, 2017)
  • The number of domestic business trips in the US is predicted to grow to 493.7 million before the end of 2022. (Statista, 2019)

number of business trips per year

2. Business Travel Spending Statistics

It’s no secret that corporate travel is expensive. As you’ll see in the data below, companies spend millions of dollars per year on sending their employees on business trips. Furthermore, these budgets are expected to increase in the coming years.

To ensure steady business travel funding, it is best that you plan and create a budget for it ahead of time. Moreover, you should keep all travel costs in check. For this, you might find that budgeting software tools are useful for your company.

  • Business travel expenditures reached $1.33 trillion in 2017 alone. (Global Business Travel Association, 2018)
  • Corporate travel spending is expected to hit $1.7 trillion by 2022. (Global Business Travel Association, 2018)
  • Business travel market research shows that the top business travel spenders of 2017 are China ($346,502 million), USA ($292,290 million), Germany ($72,070 million), Japan ($63,798 million), and the UK ($50,039 million). (Global Business Travel Association, 2018)
  • The average daily cost of business travel in the US is $325 per day. (Business Travel News Corporate Travel Index, 2018)
  • Businesses spend roughly $1,425 for every employee they send on a business trip. (Business Travel News Corporate Travel Index, 2018)
  • Companies spend $111.7 billion on domestic travel. This is an average of $949 per traveler. (Certify)
  • Businesses spend $31.6 billion on international travel. This is an average of $2,600 per person. (Certify)
  • The average business travel budget consists of money for meals (21%), flight (17%), misc. Expenses (17%), accommodations (13%), gas (11%), car rental (5%), cell phone (5%), taxi (3%), supplies (3%), shipping (2%), tolls (2%), parking (1%). (Certify)

Air Travel Expenditures

If your company is affiliated with businesses located halfway across the globe or on the other side of the country, then spending on air travel is inevitable. So, you should prepare a good chunk of your budget for airfares, especially considering flight tickets and miscellaneous spending at airports are increasingly expensive. You might also want to time your booking so you can get tickets at lower rates.

  • The average domestic airfare in the US is $352.06. (Bureau of Transportation Statistics, 2019)
  • The average cost of coach airfare for international flights is $1216. (Certify)
  • Average global airfares had increased by 3.5% in 2018. (Statista, 2019)
  • Booking flights 169 to 319 days in advance allows you to fly at the time you prefer and get the seats that you want. (CheapAir.com Annual Airfare Study, 2018)
  • The prime booking window is 21 to 121 days in advance of your preferred flight. The fares are lowest during this time. (CheapAir.com Annual Airfare Study, 2018)
  • The most costly airports based on lunch, taxi, executive lounge, and parking expenses are London Stansted (£608.29), Amsterdam (£567.35), and London Gatwick (£520.53). (FairFX, 2019)
  • The airports that give business travelers the most value for their money based on lunch, taxi, executive lounge, and parking expenses are Barcelona (£236.36), Belfast International (£228.28), and Beijing (£170,03). (FairFX, 2019)
  • The most important factors when choosing an airline for business travel are flight schedules (28.8%), time savings from direct flights (19.5%), loyalty program (14%), airline amenities (12.6%), and savings (12.3%). (Travelport, 2018)

Road Transportation Costs

More often than not, business travelers still need to go from one place to another upon reaching their destinations. So, it makes sense for them to spend on road transportation. For domestic trips just outside of the city, this might involve gas money for their personal vehicles. In case they have to go farther away, they will need to allocate a budget for car rental. There might also be those who opt to use ride-sharing applications during the trip.

Accommodation and Other Expenses

Business travelers require accommodations that are affordable, secure, and trustworthy. What’s more, staying at a place where they have access to conveniences such as workstations and free WiFi can ensure their productivity while on the go. This is why many companies are willing to spend more on hotel rooms and Airbnb accommodations.

How Do Businesses Spend on Travel?

A breakdown of the average corporate trip budget

Meals

%

Flight

%

Misc. Expenses

%

Accommodations

%

Gas

%

Car Rental

%

Phone Expenses

%

Taxi Fares

%

Supplies

%

Shipping

%

Tolls

%

Parking Fees

%

Source: Certify

Designed by

3. Statistics on Business Travel Benefits

Many companies may think that business travel is passé or that it is a waste of money. However, statistics show that this is most certainly not the case. Corporate trips actually allow businesses to foster stronger and more close-knit relationships with potential clients and partners. Thus, they yield a good ROI for their business travel initiatives and even grow their company at a faster pace.

In addition, professionals cite business travel as a factor when it comes to employee acquisition and retention. In other words, by giving your staff members the opportunity to travel for business purposes, you are boosting morale and reinforcing loyalty.

  • 90% of professionals believe that business travel is crucial to company growth. (TripActions, 2018)
  • Companies get a $2.90 increase in profit and a $9.50 increase in revenue for every dollar spent on corporate travel. (Certify)
  • 79% of employees say that business travel experience has an impact on their overall job satisfaction. (Global Business Travel Association, 2017)
  • 3 in 5 job seekers in the US say that company travel programs play a huge role in considering an employer. (Global Business Travel Association, 2017)
  • 83% of employees say that business travel is a job perk. (Travelport, 2018)

ROI of Corporate Travel

4. Business Travel Experience Statistics

Corporate travelers are consumers. So, in a similar light as your typical shopper, they expect personalized experiences when it comes to traveling. In fact, they are more than willing to provide their preferences and personal information if it means travel agencies and airline companies will provide them with better products and services. In addition to these, modern business travelers also don’t mind paying extra out of their pocket for upgrades on accommodations and transportation.

  • 9 in 10 corporate travelers will share their travel preferences for a customized experience. (CWT Research, 2019)
  • 65% of travelers are willing to provide additional personal information to accelerate processing at the airport. (IATA Global Passenger Survey, 2018)
  • 22% of frequent travelers want travel companies to remember their personal data. (Accenture Younique Study)
  • 67% of modern travelers expect brands to help them make good travel decisions based on previous travel information. (Accenture Younique Study)
  • 55% of business travelers are willing to pay out of their own pocket to get upgrades for accommodations, car rentals, and airline seats. (Travelport, 2018)

Improving the Experience of Corporate Travelers

So, how can companies improve the overall business travel experience? Now that we know that the future of corporate travel anchors on personalization and convenience, it is important to utilize the available technologies to enhance the travel management process.

Moreover, travel managers should actively measure the satisfaction of business travelers to determine any other points for improvement. To do this, you might want to consider utilizing best-in-class business intelligence platforms or top-rated data analytics software.

  • Travelers say that their experience can be improved using real-time travel notifications (54%), automatic flight rebooking options (46%), and face-to-face interaction with airline agents (39%). (IATA Global Passenger Survey, 2018)
  • A business travel report revealed that 79% of business travel managers say that partnering with travel management companies can lead to more efficient processes and higher savings. (Egencia, 2018)
  • 80% of corporate travel managers say that having a system of measurement can benefit corporate travel initiatives. (Association of Corporate Travel Executives, 2018)
  • 98% of corporate travel managers say that the most important metrics to measure are traveler satisfaction, policy compliance, and savings and expenditures. These are followed by booking statistics (96%) and traveler engagement (90%). (Association of Corporate Travel Executives, 2018)

What Do Travelers Want?

Top factors that can improve the business travel experience

54%

Real-Time Travel Notifications

46%

Automatic Flight Rebooking Options

39%

Face-to-Face Interaction With Airline Agents

Source: IATA 2018 Global Passenger Survey

Designed by

5. Bleisure Statistics

“Work hard, play hard” is the mantra of modern business travelers. It seems that more and more employees are making it a point to extend their trip for leisure or, at the very least, allocate time for fun activities during a trip. Moreover, bleisure, trips that are both for business and leisure, are becoming more and more popular as work-life balance is becoming a main priority for many businesses.

One thing to note about bleisure, however, is that this may also pose problems for companies when it comes to accountability and productivity. After all, administrators don’t know how their business travelers will spend their time during a trip. In case you feel like this might be an issue for you, you can always opt to use time tracking software solutions. Using these, business travelers may log their productive hours even while away from the office.

  • Bleisure trips have increased by 20% between 2016 and 2017. (Forbes, 2018)
  • Business travelers enjoy exploring new places and cultures (41%) more than meeting with clients and teams (17%). (Mezi, 2017)
  • 80% of corporate travelers make sure to squeeze in fun activities while on a business trip. (National Car Rental State of Business Travel Survey, 2017)
  • Almost half of corporate trips (40%) are extended for leisure. (Expedia, 2016)

Employee Expectations on Bleisure

Nowadays, business travelers are not shy about taking some time off while on a trip. After all, they deserve to have a bit of fun after working long hours out of the office. This is why they expect companies to cover bleisure in their travel policies.

  • 82% of travelers expect support from their superiors when taking a break on business trips. (National Car Rental State of Business Travel Survey, 2017)
  • Employees want their companies to consider bleisure for their travel policy. This means including a budget for extracurriculars (74%) and giving them the option to bring a guest on the trip (38%). Moreover, they want to be provided with the flexibility to extend their trips for leisure (34%) and given a budget for exercise and similar lifestyle activities during the trip (24%). (Mezi, 2017)
  • 37% said that leisure activities should have an equal length as business activities during a corporate trip. (Expedia, 2016)

travelers expect support

6. Statistics on the Modern Business Traveler

So, who is the modern corporate traveler? Statistics show that these travelers are mostly college-educated males who are older than 45 years old. They go on trips to attend conferences, build business partnerships, develop their careers, and find investors. Moreover, a handful of them spends a good fraction of their year traveling for business purposes.

  • 2/3 of corporate travelers have a bachelor’s degree. Moreover, they have an average household income of $82,000. (The US Business Travel Economic Impact Report, 2017)
  • 60% of business travelers are male. Meanwhile, 50% are older than 45 years old. (The US Business Travel Economic Impact Report, 2017)
  • Employees go on business trips to attend conferences (62%), to meet with other companies for business planning (56%), for professional development (44%), to meet with coworkers in a different location (40%), and to pitch new products (30%). (Skift, 2016)
  • The top 10% of business travelers spend an average of 88 nights away from their homes per year. (Corporate Traveller, 2017)
  • 50% of business travelers from Europe go on trips alone. (Fly Aeolus, 2017)

The Millennial Business Traveler

Millennials are poised to comprise the majority of the workforce in the coming years. So, it only makes sense that we tackle how millennial employees view business travel and how they travel for business.

In the statistics we’ve culled, millennials see being sent on corporate trips as a job perk than an inconvenience. So much so that they even create reasons to travel for business. In fact, as of 2016, this generation has become the most active business travelers.

Another thing that sets them apart from previous generations is that while they prioritize cost-efficiency by avoiding expensive hotels and flights, they have a penchant for bleisure. This means they make it a point to balance each trip for both business and leisure.

  • 65% of business travelers who are millennials view corporate trips as a status symbol. (Hilton Hotels & Resorts, 2018)
  • 56% of millennials create reasons to go on business trips. Moreover, 69% of them want to extend their trip for leisure. (Hilton Hotels & Resorts, 2018)
  • Millennials go on 7.4 trips every year. (Skift, 2016)
  • Millennial business travelers in the tech industry prioritize cost-efficiency by opting for non-chain hotels. Also, 85% of them booked budget flights instead of choosing business class seats. (TravelPerk, 2018)
  • 78% of Millennials intentionally make time for leisure on business trips. (Chase Marriott Rewards Premier Business Credit Card Survey, 2016)

Why Do Employees Go On Business Trips?

To attend conferences

%

To meet with other companies for business planning

%

For professional development

%

To meet with coworkers in a different location

%

To pitch new products

%

Source: Skift

Designed by

7. Business Travel Policy Statistics

Business travelers represent your company. So, the manner in which they travel must be in line with your business values. This is why it is pertinent to have a corporate travel policy.

With this, you can set standards as to where they should stay, which airlines to pick, what car rentals to choose. It also allows you to set rules around what gifts may be purchased during the trip. In addition, travel policies can serve as a guideline for on-site spending.

However, not every company and business traveler realizes the value of a travel policy. So, many opt not to create one.

If you don’t have one, you might want to find a good travel management software to do it. As an alternative, you may also utilize reliable business process management solutions.

  • A business travel market report revealed that 40% of businesses still don’t have a travel policy. (Egencia, 2018)
  • 60% of corporate travelers say they don’t understand the need for a company travel policy. (Amadeus, 2017)
  • Companies allow more than half of business travelers to book their trips however they prefer. (Egencia, 2018)
  • The factors that have a negative impact on business travel are the lack of formal processes and outdated booking systems. (Mezi, 2017)

Corporate Travel Management Problems

Of course, simply having a travel policy is not a surefire way to maximize corporate trips. Its positive effect on your business travel processes depends on how you implement it. As you’ll see in the business travel statistics below, companies with travel policies encounter their fair share of problems.

Many of them have travel policies that are not in line with their company culture. Furthermore, not all of them can manage their policies effectively. Lastly, they have many employees who choose not to comply with the policy they have in place.

  • 27% of business travelers say that their company’s travel policy is ill-managed. (Mezi, 2017)
  • 52% of employees say that their company’s travel policy only moderately aligns with their company culture. (Mezi, 2017)
  • 69% of business travelers comply with corporate travel policies. (Travelport, 2018)
  • Business travelers often book accommodations out-of-policy because they are not close enough to the destination (37%) or because they found a better hotel within their per diem (37%). (Egencia, 2018)

businesses don’t have a travel policy

8. Statistics on Business Travel Concerns

While there may be quite a lot of tools that you can use to optimize the business travel experience, the industry still has a long way to go. Corporate travelers still encounter plenty of obstacles and concerns that may impede them from being the most efficient they can be. For example, many of them still need to deal with delayed flights, long waiting times at the airport, as well as the hassle of lengthy security processes.

  • As of 2017, the leading concerns of US business travelers are delayed flights (73.2%) and limited airline seat availability (43.8%). These are followed by earning frequent flyer points (41%) and ease of passing through security (31.4%). (Statista, 2017)
  • The most tiring aspects of business travel are the waiting time (27%) and having no direct flights (25%). In addition, travelers feel that the ride to and from the airport (22%), early or late departures/arrivals (16%), and the flight itself (10%) are also exhausting. (Fly Aeolus, 2017)
  • The longest waiting times for security screening at US Airports in 2019 are Newark Liberty International, NJ (23.1 minutes), George Bush International, TX (19.8 minutes), Miami International, FL (19.6 minutes), and Baltimore-Washington International (18.2 minutes). (Statista, 2019)

Leading Concerns of Business Travelers

Delayed Flights

Limited Airline Seat Availability

Earning Frequent Flyer Points

Ease of Passing Through Security

Source: Statista

Designed by

9. Business Travel Tech Usage Statistics

Corporate travelers are a tech-savvy bunch. They rely heavily on the internet and their smartphones to manage their trips. Moreover, they have quite a knack for learning new technology. As a result, they have high expectations for their companies, travel agencies, airline companies, and similar firms when it comes to innovation.

For example, they want to have access to all-in-one applications that will help them consolidate and accelerate the travel planning process. In addition, they are looking forward to having voice-activated assistants for travel queries. As you’ll see below, these are only a few of the many things that they are expecting from the industry.

  • 48% of US travelers research, book, and plan their trips using their mobile devices. (Google, 2018)
  • Over 70% of travelers in the US use their smartphones when traveling. This is to research activities, locate restaurants, or look up directions. (Google, 2018)
  • The majority of modern travelers (57%) want to have a single application to manage their planning and booking needs. (Booking.com, 2018)
  • 57% of travelers want to have a mobile app that will let them track their luggage in real-time. (Booking.com, 2018)
  • 31% of travelers say they like the idea of using voice-activated assistants for their travel queries. (Booking.com, 2018)

FinTech Options for Business Travel

Traveling involves quite a lot of expenditures. Therefore, corporate travelers make a large number of transactions that need to be accounted for after each trip. However, manually tracking spending during a trip can be tedious and prone to errors.

As a result, many travelers are now relying on financial technology, such as expense management software and cashless transactions. These allow them to record their expenditures as they go and make sure that they remain within budget. With these, it is easier for companies to maximize their travel budget down to the last penny.

  • It takes an average of 40 hours per month for business travelers to reconcile their expenses and payment data. (Egencia, 2018)
  • 80% of business travelers prefer using automated digital expense reporting for their trips. (Travelport, 2018)
  • 55% of business travelers expect to go on completely cashless trips within the decade. (DCC Forum, 2017)
  • 51% of corporate travelers believe that all business trip payments will be made via mobile devices in a few years. (DCC Forum, 2017)

The Rise of Ride-Hailing Apps

Car rental and the use of personal vehicles are still prevalent when it comes to business travel. However, an increasing number of corporate travelers are now opting to use ride-hailing or ride-sharing applications. After all, by using these technologies, they no longer need to worry about car maintenance or parking while on the trip.

  • Ride-hailing companies make up 70.5% of all ground transportation receipts for business trips. (USA Today, 2018)
  • Ride-sharing applications like Uber and Lyft have a 93% adoption rate for business travelers. (Certify SpendSmart Report, 2015)

Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality Tech

Business travelers, while often trained to deal with unforeseen circumstances, want to come prepared. That is to say; they like visualizing how their travel plans are going to pan out well before the actual trip. To do this, it is important that they familiarize themselves with their destination.

This is where augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) comes in. These technologies will allow them to get the lay of the land. So, it is easier to map out their itineraries and manage expectations for the trip. For more information about this tech, be sure to check out our list of VR statistics for 2019.

  • Business travel data reveals that 1 in 5 travelers want to use AR so that it is easy to check out their destination before a trip. (Booking.com, 2018)
  • 81% of business travelers expect hotels to use virtual, reception-free check-in processes in the future. Meanwhile, 79% predict that using VR tech for accommodations will become the norm in the next 10 years. (DCC Forum, 2017)

Artificial Intelligence

In a similar vein as practically every other industry, business travel is also being reshaped by artificial intelligence (AI). Many travel companies, managers, and corporate travelers rely on this tech to make their trips much more efficient. As you’ll see below, they find this very useful when it comes to monitoring employees as well as finding travel suggestions for planning.

  • The majority of corporate travel managers (82%) say that the use of AI for business travel is “very useful” or somewhat useful.” (Skift Global Business Traveler Report, 2018)
  • 55% of business travelers say they will allow employers to use GPS tracking to monitor their location during out-of-town trips. (Travelport, 2018)
  • 41% expect travel brands to use AI to provide them with significant travel suggestions. (Booking.com, 2018)

AI is useful for business travel

If you are looking for emerging trends in AI usage, we also have this list of AI statistics that you might find handy.

What Do These Business Travel Facts Mean for Your Company?

The business landscape is highly connected and globalized. While it may be convenient to connect with people using video conferencing and similar modes of communication, we have to admit that these are not enough.

After all, getting your message across to customers, colleagues, and potential partners is only half the purpose of these business interactions. If you truly want to build rapport, develop trust, and ensure coordination. Undoubtedly, face-to-face meetings are still the way to go. This is why business travel remains a crucial part of many industries.

As you have already read in our article, corporate travel is expensive, and it is getting more so every year. However, when these are planned thoroughly and executed properly, you can open more opportunities for your company. It can even help you attract the best talents for your company.

Just be sure to take the time to understand the needs of your business travelers. This way, you can have a better idea of how you can improve the experience for them and maximize their participation in each trip.

To sum up, we hope that our list of business travel statistics was able to help you get a better idea of the state of the industry as well as where it is headed. With this data, preparing for future business travel efforts should be much simpler.

In case you are wondering how to stay productive during business trips, be sure to check out our guide on how to get work done during flights. With this, you can get tips and tricks regarding corporate travel productivity.

By Nestor Gilbert

Senior writer for FinancesOnline. If he is not writing about the booming SaaS and B2B industry, with special focus on developments in CRM and business intelligence software spaces, he is editing manuscripts for aspiring and veteran authors. He has compiled years of experience editing book titles and writing for popular marketing and technical publications.

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