Many business travellers now have multiple concerns about the return of corporate trips following the pandemic, new research reveals.
The top perceived threats to business travel include health and safety concerns from Covid-19 (54%), the cost of oil prices and inflation (48%) and the conflict in Ukraine (42%).
A majority (83%) said their company had already adopted a ‘more travel on fewer shoulders’ approach, returning to pre-pandemic levels of business travel but with a smaller group of travellers and 99% are willing to travel in the next 12 months.
But there is a continuing sense of unhappiness and uncertainty about the amount of business travel they are expected to. More than a quarter of those dissatisfied with their travel frequency (28%) will search for a new position if business travel at their existing company continues at its current pace.
At the same time 60% of travel managers admitted that staffing changes will make their jobs challenging over the next 12 months, as business travellers move onto new opportunities.
On top of this, business travellers are feeling more empowered to decline trips, with nearly half (49%) saying they would decline if there were safety concerns about going to certain parts of the world.
The results come from a study of 300 UK business travellers and 100 travel managers by travel and expense provider Sap Concur.
The research found that 55% of travel managers agreed that their role is less stressful compared to 12 months ago and 98% of business travellers were eager to get back on the road again, although 45% miss feeling the sense of ‘normalcy’ of business travel.
As a result, firms need to be wary of the duty-of-care that exists for their employees because of the ever-changing climate, according to the report.
On the issue of sustainability, 56% of business travellers would change their transportation decisions over the next 12 months to reduce the environmental impact.
Sap Concur global product strategy senior director Ami Taylor said: “As the business travel industry continues to move toward pre-pandemic levels, concerns remain for employees who simply miss exploring the world and building in-person connections.
“As the climate continues to be unpredictable, it is important for UK businesses to consider their employees. Business travellers are fed up and anxious and intend to take some level of action when they return to business travel if their company does not agree with their concerns.
“As companies continue to increase their business travel, there needs to be proactive consideration on employee wellbeing and care.
“Companies will need to take initiative with safeguarding and supporting their employees, all the while adhering to new policies and approvals to meet the sustainability agenda.
“Being aware of the various tools and technologies is a step in the right direction to help make travellers’ lives easier and adapt faster to regulation changes, such as post-Covid changes and cost-of-living uncertainties.”