New global study shows: Employees associate travel with business success

Employees associate travel with business success

A global study commissioned by the SAP Concur organization shows that business travelers' priorities have shifted during the COVID 19 pandemic. Data from the study, conducted in April and May 2021, provides valuable insights for companies to refine their travel programs. First and foremost: employees consider travel to be important for both professional and private reasons. 96% of respondents are willing to travel for business in the next 12 months – 65% are even very willing.

In addition, the survey of 3.850 business travelers in 25 global markets:

Business travel determines professional success and self-fulfillment

Travel has a high personal relevance. 92% of respondents are motivated to travel for business this year for personal reasons. These include personal contact with customers and colleagues (54%), discovering new places (52%) and taking time out from everyday life (41%).

At the same time, four out of five business travelers fear that their personal and professional lives will suffer (80% each) if they do not increase the frequency of travel this year. This is due to personal concerns about not being able to build and maintain business relationships (45%), earning less money (38%) and not being able to advance one's career (33%). One in five (18%) even fear losing their job if they can't travel more frequently for business again. On the other hand, respondents believe that it will also be more difficult for their company to build new business relationships if business travel does not increase (38%). From their perspective, this would result in fewer new business wins (37%) and fewer contract renewals with existing customers (34%).

Bleisure is coming back

High workloads and unused vacation days also mean employees want to make the most of upcoming business trips – 89% of respondents say they plan to add a personal vacation to their business trips in the next 12 months.

New dynamics in the workplace due to COVID-19 pandemic

Business travelers will weigh their options in the future if employers don't meet their expectations. Two out of three respondents (68%) say they want to go on a business trip again – but on their own terms. Nearly one-third (31%) would ask for travel restrictions if the company did not implement policies or measures to protect the health and safety of its employees. 20% would even go so far as to look for another job.

Flexibility beats security on business trips

In fact, flexibility, such as in choice of transportation, accommodations or travel dates, is now the most pressing need of business travelers, ahead of their requirements regarding vaccinations (72% vs. 62 %). In contrast, in 2020, ensuring personal health and safety while traveling was still their most important need.

More findings – including how companies can address traveler needs to restore trust and retain talent – will be presented at the SAP Concur Travel Industry Summit on 17. June 2021 presented and discussed.

About the survey
The survey was conducted by Wakefield Research (, a leading independent provider of quantitative, qualitative and hybrid market research, among 3.850 business travelers (defined as those who have traveled for business three or more times in the last 24 months and who work in a role that is likely to require them to return to business travel as soon as it is safe to do so) from the following markets conducted: U.S., Canada, Brazil, Mexico, LAC (Colombia, Chile, Peru, Argentina), U.K., France, Germany, ANZ region (Australia, New Zealand), SEA region (Singapore, Malaysia), China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, India, Korea, Italy, Spain, Dubai, Benelux (Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg), South Africa, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland. The survey took place from April to May 2021.

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