Nearly all global business travellers are willing to travel…
The survey reveals that nearly all global business travellers (94%) are willing to travel for business in the next 12 months, including 67% who are very willing.
In fact, 92% say the future of their career is dependent on successful business travel in the next year, because it’s important for maintaining client relationships (42%) and starting new ones (41%).
More than a third (38%) say business travel is important for staying updated on the latest trends, technology, and advancements.
… but almost two-thirds feel they haven’t had equal opportunity to travel
However, nearly two-thirds of global business travellers (62%) feel they haven’t had equal opportunity to travel for business compared to their coworkers. Even more US business travellers (72%) feel they haven’t had equal opportunity.
The respondents attribute this to their age (global: 21%, US: 27%), accent (17%, 23%), gender (17%, 26%), physical appearance (16%, 25%), ethnicity or race (15%, 22%), being a parent or caretaker (13%, 18%), their sexual orientation (8%, 17%) or their disability (7%, 14%).
Business travel is critical for workplace relationships but remote workers are missing out
Remote workers say business travel is critical for workplace relationships. Yet, more remote workers feel they haven’t had equal opportunity to take business trips because of where they live or how often they come into the office.
More than three in 10 remote workers recognise that business travel is critical to forming meaningful connections with co-workers (38%) and building stronger relationships with managers (37%), compared to in-office workers (27% and 24%, respectively).
However, half of remote workers (50%) say they’re travelling more than they’d like, compared to hybrid (37%) and in-office (29%) workers.
Remote workers feel they haven’t had equal opportunity for business travel
At the same time, the survey shows more remote workers feel they haven’t had equal opportunity for business travel—77%, compared to 61% of hybrid workers and 52% of in-office workers—because of where they live (20%, 13%, and 13%, respectively) and how often they come into the office (17%, 11%, and 8%, respectively).
It is particularly challenging for remote workers who are parents or guardians, according to the findings: 16% say they haven’t had equal opportunity for business travel because of their status as a parent, compared to hybrid (12%) and in-office (11%) workers. Remote workers are also most likely to decline a business trip due to challenges finding childcare (19%, 14%, and 14%, respectively).
Remote workers are more concerned than office workers on economic outlook
More remote workers say the uncertain economy is affecting their company’s business travel than in-office workers (91% vs 80%), with noted changes including reducing overnight trips (36% vs. 27%), staying in lower quality accommodations (39% vs. 26%), requiring a minimal number of meetings per business trip (35% vs. 23%), and requiring more advance approvals (31% vs. 22%).
Health and safety still the biggest threat to business travel
Global business travellers still say that health and safety is the biggest threat to business travel – more so than inflation or budget cuts/travel freezes, according to the research.
Approaching half (44%) said health and safety is the biggest threat to business travel – more so than international or local conflicts and tensions (34%), inflation (34%), budget cuts or travel freezes (31%), and remote work and virtual meeting options (28%).
That’s not to say that an uncertain economy isn’t having an impact: travellers have observed budget cuts (40%), reduced overnight trips (32%), staying in lower quality accommodations (31%), emphasis on lower fares (31%), and a minimum number of meetings per business trip (28%) in their organisation.
Of note, more US business travellers have observed these changes (44%, 36%, 39%, 42%, and 36%, respectively).
Travellers still expect companies to allow them to make out-of-policy bookings
The survey indicates that travellers still expect their company to allow them to make out-of-policy bookings to ensure their safety (global: 48%, US: 56%), support work-life balance (47%, 53%), book sustainable options (36%, 37%), take bleisure trips (34%, 41%), book for conferences (31%, 46%), and support ideological or lifestyle differences with travel destination (30%, 41%).
Safety and health still biggest reasons to decline a business trip
Safety (44%) and health (41%) are still the biggest reasons to decline a business trip, more so than feeling burnt out on travel (27%) and challenges finding childcare (15%).
In the past 12 months, more than half of global business travellers (53%) have also had to change their accommodations because they felt unsafe, according to the research. Worryingly, more than a quarter (28%) have had to change more than once.
And it is even higher in the US, where more than two-thirds of business travellers (70%) have had to change their accommodations because they felt unsafe, and nearly half (47%) have had to change more than once.
Business travellers experience unfair treatment…
Business travellers, particularly those in the US, have experienced unfair treatment on their trips, according to the findings, including: being ignored by service workers (global: 31%, US: 41%), unfair or improper security screening (26%, 32%), being asked if they are travelling with their spouse (25%, 34%), feeling in immediate danger (23%, 31%), being the target of unwanted sexual advances or comments (22%, 36%), derogatory language directed at them (20%, 27%) and fellow travellers assuming they work at the hotel (19%, 29%).
… and it is the younger generations that feel more uncomfortable
Globally, younger generations also feel more uncomfortable. In the past 12 months, almost two-thirds of Gen Z (64%) and millennials (61%) have changed their accommodations for a business trip because they felt unsafe, according to the survey results. That’s compared to 40% of Gen X and 15% of baby boomers. In fact, 85% of baby boomers say they’ve never had to use this practice.
LGBTQ+ travellers are still needing to hide their sexual identity
The survey reveals the majority of global LGBTQ+ travellers have hidden their sexual identity on a business trip, and more than a third have attributed it to anti-LGBTQ+ laws in the region.
More than half (54%) of global LGBTQ+ business travellers say the biggest threats to business travel are health and safety concerns, and 45% would decline a business trip due to safety or social concerns for travelling to certain parts of the world.
Most global LGBTQ+ business travellers (90%) have hidden their sexual identity on their business trip, with the top reason being safety and privacy issues (55%). A little less than half (46%) hid their orientation for business reasons, meaning they felt that their business goals had a better chance of success if they hid their identity.
More than a third (38%) were also forced to hide their identity due to anti-LGBTQ+ laws in the region.
In the past 12 months, 82% of LGBTQ+ business travellers have had to change their accommodations because they felt unsafe. Nearly all (94%) have experienced unfair treatment on a business trip, including being ignored by service workers (45%), being the target of unwanted sexual advances or comments (40%), and unfair or improper security screening (33%).
A high majority of LGBTQ+ business travellers (92%) feel they haven’t had equal opportunity to take business trips compared to their co-workers due to their age (38%), gender (34%), and sexual orientation (31%).