How happy are business travelers from around the world with their travel programs? Why do they book outside of policy and what might motivate them to be compliant? What are the biggest challenges of traveling for work? Do travelers feel safe and that their company can provide them with assistance during an emergency?
These are some of the questions that American Express Global Business Travel (AmEx GBT) set out to answer with Traveler 360⁰, an international study conducted with GfK, a German research firm.
2,000 business travelers from the U.S., the U.K., France, Germany, Australia, Singapore and India were surveyed to gain insights into perceptions and attitudes regarding their companies’ travel programs.
The report shows that while a large majority of business travelers acknowledge the value of traveling for work, a varying percentage across markets are reluctant to comply with company travel policies.
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Those business travelers surveyed cited issues including lack of clarity and understanding, desire for privacy and doubts around employers’ duty-of-care obligations. In many cases, travelers believe they know better when it comes to health, safety and saving company money than those giving instructions.
Here are a few key insights from the report:
Traveler sentiment: Business travelers overwhelmingly are satisfied with the amount of time they spend traveling for business and find it’s a good use of their time. Still, there are multiple challenges they face, including how it infringes on their personal time and their ability to meet their work commitments.
They also have security concerns (particularly in France) and frustrations with rebooking assistance during travel disruptions (especially in Singapore and India).
Rogue behavior. According to the survey, even when employees know and praise the travel and expense reporting policy, a majority of business travelers outside the U.S. fail to book in policy all of the time and find many excuses for straying, from staying at a hotel closer to the meeting location to lodging at a better quality accommodation.
Travel policy compliance: The findings show there is a direct correlation between policy education and traveler compliance, with Americans having a significant lead in compliant behavior. Although most travelers are “very” or “extremely familiar” with their travel policy, many also indicated that their company policy is not clear, underscoring a need for more education and transparent policies.
Booking and expense: The study indicated that travelers tend to model their booking and expenses behaviors after the managers who approve their trips.
Meanwhile, while most travelers report having company systems or apps to book travel and handle expenses, a number of survey participants, especially from Singapore, report they are not easy to use.
Duty of care: Travelers believe it is important for their employers to invest in technology to support them in times of emergency or travel disruption, but they are conflicted about location-based technologies they feel might infringe on their privacy.
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Bleisure: Even though three-quarters or more of travelers from each country say their company supports the idea of blending business and leisure travel, very few employees actually take advantage of this opportunity. Only between 25 and 45 percent have taken such a trip in the past 12 months.
To view and download the entire Traveler 360⁰ study, visit: