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Business Travelers Ready to Hit the Road

SAP Concur research shows that the pandemic condition of not traveling is beginning to impact careers

Almost all (96 percent) business traveler respondents to a survey conducted by SAP® Concur®  said they are willing to travel for business over the next 12 months, including 65 percent who are “very willing.” The survey, conducted with Wakefield Research, polled 3,850 business travelers across 25 worldwide markets between April 15 and May 10, 2021. Respondents had to have traveled for business at least three times in the prior two years.

Highlights of the survey were released this week. They include:

• 92 percent are motivated to travel for business this year for personal reasons, including making personal connections with customers and colleagues (54 percent), experiencing new places (52 percent), and taking a break from their everyday lives (41 percent).

• That said, four in five business travelers worry that unless they increase business travel this year, their personal (80 percent) and professional lives (80 percent) will suffer.

• Respondents listed personal concerns about the ability to develop and maintain business connections (45 percent), making less money (38 percent), and not advancing in their careers (33 percent). In fact, one in five (18 percent) are worried they could lose their jobs if they are unable to increase their business travel.

• Respondents also felt that if business travel does not increase, it will be more difficult for their company to build new relationships (38 percent), and it would result in fewer new deals signed (37 percent) and fewer contract renewals with existing clients (34 percent).

• Heavy workloads and unused vacation days also mean workers want to make the most of any upcoming business travel — 89 percent say they will add personal vacation time to their business trips in the next 12 months.

• Almost a third (31 percent) say they would ask to limit travel if their company does not implement policies or measures to help protect their health and safety, while 20 percent would go as far as looking for a different position.

• Flexibility, such as choosing preferred transportation, lodging and travel dates, is now the most pressing need for business travelers, ahead of their vaccination-related demands (72 percent vs. 62 percent). In contrast, in 2020, ensuring personal health and safety while traveling was the most important consideration for business travelers.