Companies Should Be Rethinking Their Business Travel Programs For a New Era, According to New Research
Business travelers are taking to the roads and the skies again, but are corporate travel programs and policies keeping up with that? With corporate travel and in-person meetings increasingly returning, businesses need to be thoughtful about how they are implementing their travel programs, especially when it comes to their ground transportation
The first-ever ground transportation report, “The Corporate Travel Comeback: The Evolution of Ground Transportation and Other Business Travel Topics” is based on a survey of corporate travel managers across the U.S. and Canada. The Global Business Travel Association is the world’s largest association representing the pre-pandemic $1.4 trillion global business travel industry, and the report reveals pressing concerns and considerations from travel managers at some of the world’s largest companies.
Corporate travel is rising. Susan Anderson, Global Head of Uber for Business, said that airport rides represent 13% of Mobility Gross Bookings in Q1 2022, growing 161% from the past year. As more and more companies shift to in-person and hybrid work flows, it’s important that businesses rethink their travel programs and policies so that they’re tailored to this new era of business that we’re operating in. Our hope is that the report will give travel managers and others in the business travel space insights and data they need in order to roll out seamless and efficient travel programs that meet the needs of a changing world.
When it comes to evolving business travel programs at their companies, travel managers are laser focused on traveler safety, policy compliance, and sustainable travel practices. In comparison to two years ago, 75% of employers are more focused on traveler safety/well-being, 55% are more focused on sustainable/social responsibility and 53% are more focused on travel policy compliance/enforcement.
Business travel and travelers have changed as a result of the Pandemic and company travel programs have to evolve accordingly. “This research puts a spotlight on some of the important and thoughtful considerations happening across companies and corporate travel departments when it comes to serving employees traveling for business.”
Business travelers can go from Point A to B.
Survey respondents identified some of the top strengths of their travel programs, as well as areas for improvement, when thinking about their company’s current approach to managing ground transportation.
- Rideshare and rental cars top the list. Most travel managers say their company’s employees “frequently” use rental cars (82%) and rideshare apps (70%) on work trips, but fewer than half (48%) say employees frequently use taxis.
- Going premium. Most travel policies at least sometimes allow chauffeured transportation/black car service (74%), premium ridesharing (68%), and premium/luxury rental cars (51%). Roughly one-third say their company’s employees “sometimes” or “frequently” use chauffeured transportation (36%) or premium ridesharing (30%).Half of travel programs (49%) currently have a business account with a rideshare platform and one-third (35%) would consider it. The most important features cited by travel managers were reporting (76%), integration with expense platforms (69%), and ability to apply company policies (62%).
Business travel is changing despite the cost.
- Making sustainability a priority. An overwhelming majority (84%) say sustainability is at least somewhat important in the design of their company’s travel program, with 50% saying it is very or extremely important.
- Of the companies surveyed, 73% are tracking or considering setting up tracking ground transportation sustainability efforts.
- Even though travel programs prioritize sustainability, not all are willing to incur significant additional cost in order to achieve more sustainable outcomes. Only 6% of respondents say their company currently allows employees to spend more on sustainable travel options, and an additional one-quarter (26%) are considering allowing employees to spend more.
Work and play complement each other, but how does travel policy follow?
- Business and leisure, better together. Ninety percent of respondents say employees are more (30%) or equally as interested (60%) in bleisure travel – adding vacation days to their work trips – compared to pre-pandemic times. And although 36% say their company’s travel policy expressly allows bleisure trips, 49% their policy does not, but employees are often allowed to take these trips in practice.
Business travelers have to eat but what are the rules?
- Inflation’s impact on meals. Meal prices are rising because of high inflation. While almost one-third of respondents (29%) say their company has raised its spending limit or per diem for meals, a larger number (56%) say these are unchanged from last fiscal or calendar year.
- Food delivery is here to stay. More than half (55%) of travel managers say their company’s employees at least sometimes use food delivery apps on business trips and 32% expect employees to use them more than they do today.
- Most travel programs (52%) already have or would consider having a business account with a food delivery platform. Features important to travel managers are integration with expense software (74%), reporting (72%), ability to order group meals (66%), and ability to apply company policies (64%).The Uber For Business/GBTA survey was fielded April 18-27, 2022, among GBTA members and industry stakeholders in the U.S. and Canada who are involved with managing or procuring travel on behalf of their company and resulted in 202 responses.GBTA members can download a full copy of the research report on the GBTA Hub or visit the Uber for Business website.
You can get a copy of the full report by clicking here
About Uber for Business
With a seamless platform built to help them better support and engage those they employ and serve, Uber for Business brings the best of Uber to organizations all over the globe. With global scale, integrated solutions and exceptional service, Uber for Business allows organizations to streamline business travel, reimagine employee wellbeing, and elevate the customer experience, all while enabling employees to leverage theUber they love and trust in their professional lives. Over 60 countries and 10,000 cities have been reached since the launch ofUber for Business. You can find more on our website.
About the Global Business Travel Association
The Global Business Travel Association is based in the Washington, D.C. area and has operations across four continents. More than $345 billion of global business travel and meetings expenditures are managed by the members of the Global Business Travel Association. A growing global network of more than 28,000 travel professionals and 125,000 active contacts can be found in the education, events, research, advocacy and media delivered by GBTA. You can learn how business travel drives growth by visiting www.gbta.org.
Iannaci is the Director of PR and Research for the Global Communications.
It is called GBTA.