105 Critical Business Travel Statistics: 2021/2022 Spending & Concerns Analysis
Technology may have opened up new ways for individuals to connect, especially in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic where face-to-face communication can become a health risk. This is why business travel remains important for modern companies. 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 use of budgeting software for corporate travel. 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.
Corporate trips may have become more and more prevalent over the years, thanks to the increasingly globalized business landscape. So much so that millions of business travel initiatives are launched each year. However, with the current pandemic, business travel has come to a halt and it is not expected to recover until 2027.
There are 445 million business trips every year. (Certify, n. d.)
Business travelers make up 12% of an airline’s passengers, but they represent 75% of the profit. (Investopedia, 2020)
The global market for business travel is projected to decline by 4.5% in 2021. (ReportLinker, 2020)
It won’t be until 2027 that the global market for business travel is expected to recover, at which point it is expected to reach US$829.5 billion. (ReportLinker, 2020)
The global market for business travel is expected to post a CAGR of 3% from 2020 to 2027. (ReportLinker, 2020)
Breakdown of Corporate Travel Across the Globe
Companies across the globe understand how important it is to invest in corporate travel. With companies spending an average of $799 per person per day, the business travel market has surely enjoyed the growth in revenue in the past years. Unfortunately, however, when the pandemic hit, many countries experienced huge losses in business travel spending.
China lost $404 billion in business travel spend losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the biggest amount among member countries of the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA). (GBTA, 2020)
The second most affected region was Europe, which amassed $190.5 billion in business travel spend losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The third most affected region was Asia-Pacific, excluding China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan, with losses amounting to $120.2 billion. (GBTA, 2020)
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 expected to decrease the number of international business trips in the coming years.
In a survey, 45% of respondents said that their company canceled most international business trips to the U.S. as a result of the pandemic. (GBTA Coronavirus Poll/Statista, 2020)
U.S. airlines reported a 90% reduction in business travel in Q2 2020. (Spendesk, 2019)
The reduction in travel spending resulted in a loss of $162 billion for the U.S. economy in 2020. (U.S. Travel Association, 2020)
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. To ensure steady business travel funding, you should plan and create a budget for it ahead of time, taking into consideration not only accommodation and airfare but also looking into vaccination expenses for employees. This way, they may avoid the risk of contracting coronavirus while they’re traveling. Moreover, you should keep all travel costs in check. For this, you might find that using tools for budgeting can be useful for your company.
Global business travel decreased by more than half in 2020 to $694 billion. (PhocusWire, 2021)
Corporate travel spending is expected to lose $820 billion as a result of the pandemic. (CNBC, 2020)
As of September 2020, China’s number of domestic passengers reached Corporate travel spending 98% of 2019 levels. (Skift, 2020)
The average daily cost of business travel in the US is $325 per day. (Small Biz Genius, 2021)
Businesses spend roughly $1,425 for every employee they send on a business trip. (Fyle, 2020)
Companies spend $111.7 billion on business travel every year. This is an average of $1,286 per work trip. (Travel Pulse, 2020)
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 lodging (34%), airfare (27%), meals (20%), and car rentals (19%). (Travel Pulse, 2020)
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 $392. (Business Insider, 2019)
The average cost of coach airfare for international flights is $1216. (Certify)
Domestic flights in the U.S. are 41% lower on average because of the COVID-19 pandemic. (CNBC, 2020)
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, 2018)
The prime booking window is 21 to 121 days in advance of your preferred flight. The fares are the lowest during this time. (CheapAir, 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 Blog, 2018)
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 Blog, 2018)
70% of corporate travelers said that their most important consideration in booking airline tickets after COVID-19 is flexibility in cancellation and changing ticket conditions. This is followed by special measures to ensure onboard hygiene (63%), availability of direct flights (61%), and sanitation levels of aircraft between flights. (Skift Research & McKinsey, 2020)
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, although this may not be as popular an option amid the pandemic.
Three-fourths of business trips are less than 250 miles from the point of their departure. (U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics, 2017)
Personal cars are often utilized for 81% of business trips. (U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics, 2017)
New demand for road trip travel has led car rental rates in the U.S. to decrease by approximately 15% in 2020. (CheapCarRental, 2020)
65% of users stopped using ridesharing services in the U.S. due to the COVID-19 outbreak. (Statista, 2020)
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. Plus, with the current pandemic, it is also important to consider what hygiene protocols your intended accommodation implements to ensure the safety of your employees. This is why many companies are willing to spend more on hotel rooms and Airbnb accommodations.
40% of hotel guests are business travelers. (American Hotel & Lodging Corporation, 2015)
In 2020, the average hotel room price dropped significantly by 32% to $186 per night compared to $274 per night in 2019. (NerdWallet, 2020)
Tech companies prefer Airbnb accommodations. In fact, their bookings have doubled from 2017 to 2018. (TravelPerk)
In 2018, more than 700,000 businesses utilized Airbnb for Work for their corporate trips. (PhocusWire, 2018)
For the fiscal year 2020, the IRS has set the per-diem business travel rates for meals and incidental expenses at $71. (Maxwell, Locke & Ritter, 2020)
When it comes to accommodations, business travelers pay attention to quality (44%), trustworthiness (38%), convenience (40%), quietness (30%), affordability (28%), and coziness (28%). (CWT Research, 2019)
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How do businesses spend on travel?
A breakdown of the average corporate trip budget
How do businesses spend on travel? Lodging: 34%
How do businesses spend on travel? Airfare: 27%
How do businesses spend on travel? Meals: 20%
How do businesses spend on travel? Car rentals: 19%
Source: Travel Pulse
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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, even amid a pandemic, many professionals cite business travel as a job perk.
90.6% of corporate travel managers believe that business travel is crucial to company growth. (Skift + TripActions Business Travel Survey, 2019)
On the other hand, 91.3% of business travelers said that business travel is crucial to company growth. (Skift + TripActions Business Travel Survey, 2019)
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)
83% of employees say that business travel is a job perk. (Stratos Jet Charters, Inc., 2020)
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.
Nine 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. (International Air Transport Association, 2018)
22% of frequent travelers want travel companies to remember their personal data. (Accenture, 2017)
67% of modern travelers expect brands to help them make good travel decisions based on previous travel information. (Accenture, 2017)
55% of business travelers are willing to pay out of their own pocket to get upgrades for accommodations, car rentals, and airline seats. (AeroLatinNews, 2018)
Improving the Experience of Corporate Travelers
Business travel may not be as prevalent now. But this pause makes it the perfect time to ask, how can you improve the overall business travel experience? Now that we know 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 and accurate travel notifications (55%) and automatic flight rebooking (53%). (International Air Transport Association, 2019)
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. (ACTE, 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%). (ACTE, 2018)
Points for Improvement for Airlines, According to Passengers
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5. Bleisure Statistics
“Work hard, play hard” is the mantra of modern businessmen and corporate employees. So, before 2020, it was not surprising that employees have made it a point to extend their trip for leisure or, at the very least, allocate time for fun activities during a trip. While this may not be a possibility with the ongoing pandemic, it is certainly a trend that companies should anticipate as travel restrictions and quarantine protocols relax. After all, it will allow your company to reinforce work-life balance for employees.
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%). (Medium, 2017)
80% of corporate travelers make sure to squeeze in fun activities while on a business trip. (National Car Rental, 2018)
Almost half of the corporate trips (40%) are extended for leisure. (Expedia Group, 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, 2018)
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%). (National Car Rental, 2018)
37% said that leisure activities should have an equal length as business activities during a corporate trip. (Expedia Group Media Solutions, 2016)
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.
Two-thirds of corporate travelers have a bachelor’s degree. Moreover, they have an average household income of $82,000. (PhocusWire, 2017)
60% of business travelers are male. Meanwhile, 50% are older than 45 years old. (PhocusWire, 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 Traveler, 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. (Forbes, 2018)
56% of millennials create reasons to go on business trips. Moreover, 69% of them want to extend their trip for leisure. (Forbes, 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)
78% of Millennials intentionally make time for leisure on business trips. (Business Wire, 2016)
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Why Do Employees Go On Business Trips?
Why Do Employees Go On Business Trips? To attend conferences : 62
To attend conferences
Why Do Employees Go On Business Trips? To meet with other companies for business planning: 56
To meet with other companies for business planning
Why Do Employees Go On Business Trips? For professional development: 44
For professional development
Why Do Employees Go On Business Trips? To meet with coworkers in a different location: 40
To meet with coworkers in a different location
Why Do Employees Go On Business Trips? To pitch new products: 30
To pitch new products
7. Business Travel Policy Statistics
Business travelers represent your company. So, how 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.
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. (TravelPerk, 2019)
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. (Medium, 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. (Medium, 2017)
52% of employees say that their company’s travel policy only moderately aligns with their company culture. (Medium, 2017)
69% of business travelers comply with corporate travel policies. (Lola.com, 2019)
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)
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. What’s more, with the pandemic, corporate travelers today are poised to encounter more 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 and safety processes.
The most common issues that business travelers face are flight delays (65.7%), flight cancellations (31.9%), and paying for travel expenses with a personal credit card (30.5%). These were followed by their company’s tool not having the best booking rates (29.3%) and lack of support in resolving issues while traveling (23%). (Skift + TripActions Business Travel Survey, 2020)
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 Aeolous, 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)
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.
51% of passengers around the world used a smartphone or other device to check in online. (IATA, 2019)
27% of global passengers use an airline app to make last-minute purchases such as an additional bag, upgrade, or lounge access. (IATA, 2019)
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)
66.5% of companies use an online expense reporting platform with a mobile solution. (Business Travel News, 2020)
In light of the pandemic, 55.7% of corporate travel managers say that contactless payments have become a higher priority for their travel program. (Business Travel News, 2020)
51% of corporate travelers believe that all business trip payments will be made via mobile devices in a few years. (Business Travel News Europe, 2017)
The Decline of Ride-Hailing Apps
Ride-sharing apps are undoubtedly cheaper and more convenient alternatives than car rental and chauffeur services. However, with the current pandemic, it seems less and less business travelers are willing to leverage them due to the risk of contracting the virus.
Ride-hailing companies make up 70.5% of all ground transportation receipts for business trips. (USA Today, 2018)
Usage of ride-sharing apps like Uber and Lyft dropped between 70% to 80% due to travel reductions brought about by the pandemic. (Forbes, 2020)
39% of U.S. consumers who previously used ride-sharing plan to lessen their use of these services. (CarGurus, 2020)
However, the total number of ride-sharing services are expected to reach 71.3 million users in 2021. (eMarketer, 2020)
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, they must 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. (Business Travel News Europe, 2017)
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, 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)
If you are looking for emerging trends in AI usage, we also have this list of AI statistics that you might find handy.
10. Impact of COVID-19 on Business Travel
With lockdowns and travel restrictions, COVID-19 has turned the business travel sector upside-down. Even as vaccination programs offer a glimmer of hope that business will resume soon, companies still worry about their liabilities for employees who travel without getting vaccinated.
At the outset of the pandemic, 98% of member countries of the Global Business Travel Association canceled international business tours, while 92% canceled all or most of their business trips. (GlobeNewswire, 2020)
International business travel experienced a sharp decline of -70% in 2020. (U.S. Travel Association, 2021)
In a survey, 24% of respondents said that their company is considering returning to domestic travel in one to three months. (Global Business Travel Association, 2020)
On the other hand, only 6% of respondents said that their company is considering returning to international business travel in one to three months. (Global Business Travel Association, 2020)
57% of business travelers are considering taking a trip in the next six months. However, corporate travel and meeting planners are concerned with their liability if employees travel without being vaccinated. (MMGY Global, 2020)
Only 6% of people miss traveling for business, compared to 48% who miss travel to spend time with loved ones. (Airbnb, 2021)
Moreover, as of December 2020, 21% of travel managers report that they are not willing to travel for work. (Global Business Travel Association, 2020)
When the pandemic is over, 36% of people expect to travel less for work compared to pre-COVID conditions. (Airbnb, 2021)
Source: GBTA 2020
What Do These Business Travel Facts Mean for Your Company?
The pandemic has changed not only the number of flights worldwide but also the entire face of business travel. But with some signs of bouncing back in the years to come, it is hoped that things will soon be better for one of the industries that were deeply hit by the pandemic. Until then, it is important for companies to find ways on how to carry out business travel in these challenging times.
After all, 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. 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.
A senior FinancesOnline writer on SaaS and B2B topics, James Anthony passion is keeping abreast of the industry’s cutting-edge practices (other than writing personal blog posts on why Firefly needs to be renewed). He has written extensively on these two subjects, being a firm believer in SaaS to PaaS migration and how this inevitable transition would impact economies of scale. With reviews and analyses spanning a breadth of topics from software to learning models, James is one of FinancesOnline’s most creative resources on and off the office.
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