Travel budgets set to increase over next year

According to research carried out for American Express (AmEx), around two-thirds of UK companies are planning to increase their business travel over the coming months.

Travel budgets

AmEx research indicates greater investment in business travel.

According to research carried out for American Express (AmEx), around two-thirds of UK companies are planning to increase their business travel over the coming months. The research suggests that the cumulative increase in costs, for this additional travel, will be somewhere around 50%.

This AmEx survey discovered that around four in 10 businesses (42%) are looking to increase the amount of business travel they undertake, while over two-thirds (68%) plan to ramp up their spending by at least 50% compared to current levels. And 82% of those contacted believe that business travel plays a key role in driving revenue, profitability and growth.

As many as six in 10 businesses are planning to expand into new UK regions, while over a third (35%) are keen to investigate new international markets.

Travel is also viewed as being a valuable method for connecting with remote teams. Around three-quarters (73%) believe this is one of the main reasons for business travel, and 70% of business travellers say face-to-face meetings are essential in achieving their business objectives.

Some 77% of companies reported that business suffered due to the limited access to travel during the pandemic-ridden years.

Hana Lear, vice-president of UK Card Services at American Express, said: “Businesses had no choice but to press pause regarding travel over the last two years. They had to use virtual alternatives to build relationships with customers and colleagues. Our research shows that business travel – and the value of in-person connections – is the best way to drive growth. 

“There’s clearly a renewed focus on business travel. Our focus is on meeting the needs of companies of all sizes, whether that’s through our business cards which make travel expenses more rewarding. They can also select our suite of account management tools that offer key insights and reports.”

There even appears to be a change of policy towards combining business travel with leisure. Almost four-fifths of companies (79%) state they are now targeting greater employee wellbeing during their travels. Some businesses are now allowing employees to bring a partner or family member on work trips, for little or no extra cost

Opinions of business travellers:

  • The research found that while travellers enjoy business trips, they have elevated expectations of their employers. Some 71% indicated they would leave their role if their employer didn’t prioritise their wellbeing.
  • Over four in 10 travellers (42%) prefer to blend business travel with leisure time. And companies appear to be responding to this demand, with 43% of businesses saying they are keen to assist their employees on this topic.
  • Despite increased investment in this area, 62% of travellers think their employers could do more to make trips less stressful. Almost three-quarters (74%) agree that perks, such as flying business class and getting access to lounges, enable them to be more productive on their trips.
  • Around one-third (31%) of businesses are keen to promote ‘greener travel’ but aren’t sure how to achieve this. Sustainability is increasingly on the minds of travellers too, with 71% concerned about the environmental impact of their trips. They also admit to being conscious of their carbon footprint.

About: This research was undertaken between July 25th and July 29th, 2022, and conducted by Opinium on behalf of American Express. Opinium contacted 500 business travellers and 500 senior travel decision makers. These included businesses of all sizes, both SMEs with one to 249 employees, as well as large businesses with over 250 UK employees.

Andy Swales
Andy Swales

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