Every day over 1.3 million people travel for business in the US. Given the popularity of business travel, we wanted to find out what corporate travelers truly want from their trips and if there’s any way to make them more comfortable.

After asking 502 corporate travelers from the US, we learned what they want from business travel. Some figures that stood out:

  • $700 is the average out-of-pocket spend per business trip for corporate travelers
  • 63% of their out-of-pocket expenses usually goes toward dining
  • 30% of business travelers think the main benefit of business travel is breaking their routine

What business travelers want

More money to experience the world

The business travel study showed that corporate travelers spend an average of $700 beyond their designated budgets. When asked, travelers told us the most common categories to spend money on are:

  • 63% spend extra on dining expenses
  • 57% spend extra on entertainment
  • 55% spend extra on tips

When it comes to actual figures, international business travelers spend the most at about $2000 per person, while domestic travelers only spend around $500.

What business travelers really want – corporate travel survey reveals it all

Incentives for business travel

Some of the facilities business travelers are most excited about are:

  • Hotel bars (51%)
  • On-site fitness facilities (51%)
  • Indoor/outdoor pools (48%)
  • On-site relaxation facilities (46%)

Meanwhile, when it comes to choosing what to look forward to when traveling for work, employees said the real head-turners are:

  • All-paid dining options (52%)
  • Luxury accommodations (47%)
  • Per diem allowances (34%)
  • Premium benefits (33%)

For international travelers, premium benefits were more appealing, while domestic travelers were more interested in their per diem allowance.

The benefits of corporate travel

When asked to reflect on the benefits of a business trip, 42% of travelers cited career development as the main driver, while 38% were looking forward to networking or making new connections.

When it comes to international versus domestic travel, 32% of international travelers named cultural enrichment as one of the benefits compared to 14% of domestic travelers. On the other hand, 33% of domestic travelers looked forward to breaking their routine compared to 16% of international travelers.

What business travelers really want – corporate travel survey reveals it all

International travelers also feel a more powerful impact than domestic travelers when it comes to:

  • Personal development (90% compared to 73%)
  • Self-awareness (87% compared to 70%)
  • Mental health (77% compared to 48%)
  • Physical health (74% compared to 41%)
  • Family/relationships (64% compared to 35%)

We can also see this type of disparity in the age of business travelers, with those between 18 and 35 embracing business travel more than those older than 46. The numbers are:

  • For mental health – 63% of 18 to 35-year-olds feel a positive impact, compared to 41%.
  • For physical health – 59% of 18 to 35-year-olds feel a positive impact, compared to 34%.
  • For family/relationships – 48% of 18 to 35-year-olds feel a positive impact, compared to 29%.

What corporate travelers don’t want

For our corporate traveler study, we also wanted to learn about business travelers’ main concerns. The first three that stood out:

  • 39% were concerned about expenses, like rising travel costs and inefficient reimbursement and expense management.
  • 31% were concerned about travel delays and disruptions, like long wait times, flight cancellations, or lost luggage.
  • 23% were concerned about health and safety, like getting sick or stressed out.

Other challenges associated with business travel:

  • Family separation for 36% of respondents.
  • Sleep disruption or jetlag for 33% of respondents.
What business travelers really want – corporate travel survey reveals it all

According to a study from Capterra, business travelers struggle with the expense reporting process. Submitting your expenses manually can cause multiple problems, like:

  • 41% file reports without receipts
  • 29% of reports have missing information
  • 24% have duplicated expenses
  • 23% of reports have mathematical errors
  • 20% of reports don’t meet company policies

According to our study, these mistakes can be avoided in the future with the help of AI, with automated expense tracking and reporting apps on the horizon.

Conclusion

Overall, we can see that business travelers’ main concern is monetary. From the fear of not being reimbursed to spending more on experiences and fun, corporate travelers want to combine financial security and great memories in all their trips.

However, once we separate business travelers into different categories, we can tell there’s a big difference between generations and types of travel (international and domestic).

When employees go on business trips, they want to prioritize their mental and physical health, and get some time to relax.

One thing is for sure – business trips can be a pleasant break from the routine, allowing them to enjoy all-paid dining options and networking.

Methodology

From November 22 to December 4, 2023, Booking.com for Business surveyed 502 full-time (95%) and part-time (5%) professionals across the US who travel for business. Of this subset, 65% were male and 35% female, between the ages of 18 and 65. We included a representative mix of employees from various-sized companies, departments, industries, and roles within their organizations.

Sources

  1. Financesonline: 105 Critical Business Travel Statistics: 2024 Spending & Concerns Analysis
  2. Capterra: As Travel Takes Off, Companies Can Avoid Turbulence by Optimizing Travel Processes
  3. Business travel and AI: Unpacking the trust and interest in AI features

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