Business Travel’s Changing Landscape

Over 94 percent of all business travel in the United States happens on the ground within four hours of where the business executive is based. The other 6 percent are usually made by air and last for less than four days. Businesses expect to pay an average of $1,887 on business trips. Almost 50 percent of all business travelers say that they feel intense pressure from their employers to control expenses while traveling. These excursions are usually made because top management finds that there is no substitute for being there in person. The average business traveler is 38 years old, has a college degree and is male. Beyond that, business travelers tend to divide into two distinct groups who each have their own expectations.

Road Warriors

Business travelers who are road warriors tend to take more than 13 trips annually, and they tend to spend at least four days away from their main office on each business trip. Staying connected to their families is a high priority because of the amount of time that they spend flying. Therefore, they are very likely to bring along the latest gadgets and they embrace new technology with open arms. They are also likely to bring along multiple ways to connect because they do not want connectivity issues to ruin their trips. While they are capable of writing expense reports that outshine other travelers in their offices, most prefer to use technology to make filing these reports faster and easier. Many road warriors have been to the same destination multiple times, so they are harder to impress although they will not hesitate to spend money on a new adventure when the opportunity presents itself.

Business Travelers Gaining Experience

In order to become a road warrior, businesses must recruit younger members who are willing to spend time traveling. These travelers are very likely to take more than 14 business trips a year. They are also more likely to tack personal days on either end of a business trip, and they may even bring someone else along with them. Therefore, the best companies have created well-written policies on how many personal days can be taken on a business trip and who can go. The inexperienced business traveler is more likely to spend money entertaining clients in unique ways. This has given rise to travel industries offering unique experiences for the business traveler. The inexperienced business traveler is also more likely to use social media to connect with local friends in each destination, and they are more likely to share their experiences on Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms.

In order to make the most of the travel budget, corporations must have well-written travel policies. Establishing these policies ahead of time sets clear expectations on what employees can and cannot do while traveling on corporate expense budgets. Corporations need to make it easier for travelers to use the latest technology to stay connected to their families and friends while on the road. Allowing employees to file expense reports quickly adds to the enjoyment level of trips while lowering stress and burnout rates. Businesses need clear policies on who is allowed to go on trips along with policies on what expenses are deductible.