Five Trends Shaping Corporate Travel in 2024

22 avril 2024

Source: Five Trends Shaping Corporate Travel in 2024, Gaurav Banerji, Meeting Spotlight, 19 avril, 2024

Photo credit: Meeting Spotlight’s website

A new survey of North American business travelers reveals increased enthusiasm for travel, alongside ongoing safety concerns. The survey, conducted by Opinium, was commissioned by World Travel Protection (WTP). The findings offer a snapshot of the attitudes and perceptions of business travelers from the U.S. and Canada. Research was conducted from February 1-8, 2024, among 1,000 adults who travel for business at least once a year in the U.S. (500) and Canada (500).

Here are five trends influencing business travel in 2024:

1. More business travelers are happy to be traveling again

While only one-third of business travelers indicated they were happy to be traveling for work in 2023 (U.S. 33 percent, Canada 36 percent), almost half say they are happy to be traveling in 2024 (U.S. 44 percent, Canada 48 percent). The number, length and duration of business trips have also increased, with half of business travelers saying they went on more trips in 2023 than in 2022 (U.S. 54 percent, Canada 48 percent), and many noting these trips were longer in duration (U.S. 48 percent, Canada 40 percent) and included more meetings per trip (U.S. 54 percent, Canada 43 percent).

2. Hybrid and remote work has reinforced the value of in-person meetings

Three-quarters of business travelers (U.S. 74 percent, Canada 73 percent) say that meeting in person is critical for building positive, long-term relationships and six in 10 (U.S. 67 percent, Canada 58 percent) say that traveling for business has become more important since they’ve started working from home. More than half of business travelers (U.S. 59 percent, Canada 51 percent) worry that traveling less would impact their ability to be successful at their jobs.

Survey respondents cited three main benefits of business travel: traveling to places they enjoy (U.S. 43 percent, Canada 42 percent), networking with new people (U.S. 41 percent, Canada 52 percent), and having an opportunity to bond with their team (U.S. 38 percent, Canada 44 percent).

3. Safety is a concern amid war and global upheaval

Two in 10 travelers (U.S. 22 percent, Canada 21 percent) feel less safe when traveling for work these days, and six in 10 (U.S. 71 percent, Canada 59 percent) are concerned about geopolitical threats such as war, terrorist acts or tension between countries while traveling for work. Almost half of U.S. travelers (48 percent) and more than a quarter of Canadian travelers (28 percent) say the number of work trips canceled or negatively impacted by war, geopolitical conflict and/or acts of terrorism increased in 2023 compared to 2022.

The majority of business travelers surveyed say they would decline a trip if they didn’t feel their employer was prioritizing their safety and well-being (U.S. 75 percent, Canada 72 percent) and three in five (U.S. 69 percent, Canada 60 percent) say they would quit their jobs if they felt their safety when traveling was not a priority.

4. Budget cuts are also fueling safety concerns

In the last year, more than eight in 10 business travelers have been impacted by budget cuts (U.S. 89 percent, Canada 86 percent). One-third of business travelers (U.S. 34 percent, Canada 32 percent) report the need to be more careful about how they spend their travel budget these days, and many indicate their organization is much more reluctant to approve business travel (U.S. 25 percent, Canada 20 percent).

Three-fifths of business travelers (U.S. 65 percent, Canada 60 percent) say they are concerned that safety could be compromised if budget is the chief travel booking criteria. Two in 10 travelers (U.S. 22 percent, Canada 16 percent) also reported that they were asked to fly at cheaper times in 2023 and two in 10 (U.S. 21 percent, Canada 27 percent) said they were asked by their companies to stay in less expensive accommodations.

5. Travelers want employers to do more to keep them safe

More than half of business travelers (U.S. 61 percent, 51 percent CAN) say their employer could do more to keep them safe, with many (U.S. 51 percent, Canada 44 percent) saying they don’t feel their well-being is taken seriously by their organization when traveling for business.

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