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New Research Reveals Top Concerns Among Business Travelers

Feeling unsafe, concerns about harassment, rising levels of stress are among the top concerns for road warriors

A new SAP®Concur®survey reveals that more than three in four female business travelers have suffered harassment while traveling and more than one in two change their plans because of safety concerns. SAP Concur, which handles travel, expense and invoice solutions for large companies, questioned some 7,850 business travelers in 19 global markets to find that safety concerns by employees often clash with corporate self-interest for those who travel for company sales and management.

Notable highlights of the reportinclude:

Travelers often feel unsafe:

o Of the respondents, 58 percent say they have changed their travel arrangements because they felt unsafe, while 52 percent of business travelers cite travel safety as the most valuable training their company could provide.

o Millennials are more sensitive to current events: In the last 12 months, 42 percent of business travelers in this age range have reduced travel to a location because of political unrest or health hazards, compared to 36 percent of Gen X and 23 percent of Baby Boomers. Nearly as many of the Millennials (40 percent) selected a flight based on aircraft type, compared to 33 percent of Gen Xers and 21 percent of Boomers.

o Nearly one third (31 percent) of business travelers prioritize their own safety as the most important factor when taking a business trip, yet over half (54 percent) believe safety is not their companies’ top priority.

Female travelers report high levels of harassment and sexism on the road:

o More than three in four female business travelers (77 percent) have experienced some sort of harassment or mistreatment while traveling. Women are asked if they’re traveling with their husband (42  percent), ignored by service workers (38 percent), or catcalled on the job (31 percent).

o Nearly half of young female business travelers face discrimination. Forty-six percent of Gen Z women report having been asked if they were traveling with their husband compared to 31 percent of Boomers. At the same time, 41 percent of female Millennials have been ignored by service workers compared to 23 percent of Boomers.

LGBTQ+ travelers hide aspects of their identity when traveling for work:

o The vast majority (95 percent) of LGBTQ+ travelers have hidden their sexual orientation while on a business trip, with the most common reasons being to protect their safety (57 percent).

o Eighty-five percent have changed their travel arrangements out of concern for their safety, compared to just 53 percent of their non-LGBTQ+ colleagues.

Business travel isn’t getting easier or less stressful:

o Sixty-seven percent believe their company lags behind when it comes to adopting the latest technologies to make business travel easier.

o An overwhelming majority of business travelers (94 percent) are willing to share personal information to improve their business travel experience – an impressive number in an age of data privacy concerns.

o Thirty-seven percent of business travelers feel the most stress before a trip when they’re planning, booking and organizing travel. On the flip side, when a traveler returns home, 24 percent of business travelers say they would rather have a cavity filled at the dentist than complete an expense report.

“Societal issues and employee experiences are increasingly impacting the way we travel,” said Mike Koetting, Chief Product Strategy Officer, SAP Concur. “While companies continue to try and maximize traveler satisfaction, the reality is that employees are hungry for more empathy, guidance and better technology as they run into both common frustrations and unique individual concerns, leaving room for improvement among organizations of all sizes.”