Green thinking – business travellers are taking CO2 emissions into account when booking travel

6 July, 2023

New research from the German travel association Deutschen Reiseverband (DRV) has highlighted that business travellers are increasingly considering environmental factor when selecting and booking their corporate travel.

Its recently published 'Chefsache Business Travel' study, revealed an increasing number of business travellers and companies are attaching importance to being as ecologically sustainable as possible when travelling.

Air to rail substitution is becoming more favourable

The survey found three in four (75%) German business travellers are choosing train travel instead of air or rental car travel for domestic connections.

In the cases where a flight cannot be avoided, four in five (81%) business travellers stated they take CO2 emissions into account when booking, for example by choosing the most direct connections possible, with two in three (61%) even offsetting emissions out of their own pocket.

Lufthansa City Center managing director Markus Orth stated sustainability is becoming increasingly important on business trips in the country and is shifting from a benefit to an essential strategy. He said business travel is increasingly shifting to rail in particular for short distances, driven by employees who place increasing value on sustainability, as well as corporate targets for reducing emissions and increased sustainability focus at organisations.

Meanwhile, Germany's Association of German Travel Management (VDR) has released its own research echoing these findings. It says that after reduction of travel (90%), switching from flights to trains is the second most popular measure to promote sustainability (83%).

Increasing trend towards the bundling of business trips

VDR’s new business travel analysis also shows an increasing trend towards the bundling of business trips.

Its research shows companies are increasingly opting for longer business stays to reduce travel costs, with the average duration being 2.4 days. Companies of over 1500 employees had the longest stays.

In 2022, the research shows 45% of trips took place without an overnight stay. Comparatively, in 2019 the proportion of day trips among small and medium sized enterprises reached a high of 70%.

Increase in business trips and expenditure in 2022

Highlights of the analysis of German business travel in 2022 include an 82% year-on-year increase in business trips, to 75.1 million with expenditure doubling year-on-year to EUR26.9 billion.

In total, 8.4 million business travellers were recorded, an increase of three million year-on-year, but still below the peak of 13 million in 2019. Over 50% of respondents to the VDR survey believe business travel will remain at a lower level than in record years.