As the corporate travel industry begins to emerge from more than a year of Covid-induced hibernation, a vast majority of business travelers are willing to hit the road within the next year—but are putting the onus on their employers to implement measures that enable them to do so safely and comfortably, according to a new survey from SAP Concur.
Conducted with Wakefield Research, Concur’s annual global business travel survey polled 3,850 business travelers across 25 worldwide markets between April 15 and May 10, 2021. Respondents traveled for business at least three times in the prior 24 months. Concur released highlights of the survey Monday.
Among the study’s takeaways was a prevailing sense of confidence that travel’s return is around the corner, with 96 percent of respondents indicating they’d be willing to take a business trip within the following 12 months. Further, 65 percent indicated they were “very willing” to travel in that timeframe.
Among those respondents willing to travel over the next year, 92 percent cited personal reasons as major factors, including 54 percent who were motivated by the desire to make personal connections with customers and colleagues, 52 percent seeking to experience new places and 41 percent driven by the chance to take a break from everyday life. (Respondents could cite multiple motivations.) Meanwhile, 89 percent planned to add personal vacation time to their business trips over the coming 12 months, according to the survey.
Of course, business-related concerns also played a significant role in respondents’ willingness to return to travel, with 80 percent reporting worrying that their professional life would suffer unless they resumed business travel in the coming year.
Despite those pressures and desires motivating travelers to return to the road, Covid-19 has “altered the power dynamic” when it comes to corporate travel, Concur noted. More than two out of three respondents (68 percent) said that they want to return to business travel, but want to do so on their own terms, and 31 percent said they would request to limit travel if their company failed to implement policies or measures to help protect their health and safety. Twenty percent would go as far as looking for a different position if asked to travel without such safety measures in place, the study found.
Regarding those measures, vaccination-related policies were important, cited by 62 percent of respondents as a pressing need for business travelers. But flexibility was even more vital, with 72 percent of respondents reporting a desire to be able to choose their own transportation, lodging and travel dates, as a necessary element of their company’s post-pandemic corporate travel policy.