In good news for the travel industry in 2023, only one in seven business travellers have had their travel budget reduced, and only one in eight say it’s harder to get travel signed off than it used to be.
According to the new survey, commissioned by World Travel Protection, a leading global travel risk management organisation, most business travellers expressed concern that safety could be compromised if cost becomes the chief travel booking criteria.
Three fifths say it would be detrimental to business if travel budgets were reduced (65% men and 52% women), and over half are concerned that travelling less would affect their ability to be successful at their job (61% men and 46% women). Frequent business travellers, who travel at least once a month, feel this the most strongly.
Shrinking travel budgets also has a potential knock-on effect on staff retention as almost half told the survey that if travel budgets are cut they would consider leaving their organisation (54% men and 40% women).
Perhaps surprisingly, the challenging economic situation has not impacted business travellers’ comfort to a large degree. For instance, only 15% must stay in less premium hotels, only 10% now fly Premium Economy or Economy instead of Business and only 11% must fly at cheaper times or are encouraged to use cheaper non-direct routes.
Kate Fitzpatrick, Regional Security Director, EMEA at World Travel Protection, said: “It’s clear business travel remains crucial to allow employees to do their job properly. Despite the Covid enforced period of limited travel and rising costs of travel associated with the Ukraine war, many companies continue to place business travel at the heart of their business strategy. It may be somewhat cliched to say it, but meeting face-to-face is very different to meeting over teams or zoom, and of course it offers opportunities for activities that simply can’t be done remotely such as team building activities and inspection of supply chains and monitoring production quality.”
Kate continues, “However, things can go wrong when business travellers are away from home, everything from toothache or illness, to being caught up in a natural disaster such as a flood or forest fire. World Travel Protection educates and trains businesses to mitigate exposure to inherent risks associated with travelling abroad, and provides 24 hours medical, travel and security emergency assistance including medical case management, evacuation and repatriation, together with providing access to virtual care services (telehealth) and security intelligence.”