Impact of disruption on business travel revealed in TravelPerk poll

Almost a third of UK business travellers had their trips cancelled outright as 79% said they were impacted by disruption this year.

Delays of more than an hour were the most common problem, reported by 36% of respondents to a poll by global travel management platform TravelPerk.

Meanwhile,  28% were affected by transportation strikes and 21% faced trouble due to weather conditions.

As many as 91% of UK workers have adapted their travel habits as a result of this year’s disruption, according to the poll including 1,000 British business travellers. 

Twenty nine per cent of UK business travellers say speaking to a human agent on the phone is their top choice for dealing with changes to bookings, including disruptions like cancellations or rebooking. 

More: Government urged to recognise value of corporate travel in sector manifesto

Only 9% would choose an AI chatbot. Online self-service is also popular, with 26% opting for this option, ahead of speaking in-person with a representative at the airline, hotel, train or rental car service desk at 20%.

More than a third (32%) now allow for more time to get to their destination; 40% are checking for updates more frequently than before; 22% have done more research on potential health and safety risks; while 27% are considering different modes of transportation, like driving or taking the train.

The data shows that business travellers continue to book trips much closer to their departure date than they were pre-pandemic. 

The survey covered 4,000 business travellers from the UK, US, Germany, and Spain.

TravelPerk chief revenue officer Yasmine Bratt said: “Although disruptions during any journey are an inevitable part of travel, for people travelling to fulfil work duties, it’s more than just an inconvenience – it can impact the outcome of the trip and the performance of their companies.”

“As a result, business travellers are now taking countermeasures to respond to rising travel uncertainty, including adding buffer time to trips and staying overnight rather than returning the same day. By accounting for potential disruptions ahead of time, travellers can ensure that they meet the objective of their journey.”

She added: “UK business travellers have been hit particularly hard this last year, enduring endless train strikes, significant delays, and weather events. 

“They are having to account for situations beyond their control, like industrial action. 

“It’s not right to put the onus on the traveller to make back-up plans so that they can make it on time. The travel industry must come together to help business travellers have more reliable journeys in every way that they can.”

More: Government urged to recognise value of corporate travel in sector manifesto

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