- Business travel is crucial, especially for small and medium sized businesses
- Employees are only willing to return to business travel under certain conditions
- Companies could lose employees if they don’t give them what they need
In the 2021 Traveler Report (operated by Wakefield research, sponsored by SAP) it becomes clear how important business travels are, especially for companies with fewer than 1,000 employees.
Small and medium sized businesses rely heavily on relationships they’ve cultivated and if business travel doesn’t increase, it will be more difficult to develop and maintain business connections. This also leads to concern among employees that they’d make less money which could eventually harm their personal career.
With the changing of the outside setting, travelers want more control over trips (more flexibility and more vaccination-related demands) and expect to change their behavior in the coming 12 month.
Being environmentally responsive is also an important matter to them. 60% expect to make changes that improve the sustainability of their travel. This includes prioritizing
- trips with shorter distances (31%)
- alternatives to air travel (23%)
- as well as avoiding layovers (28%)
Businesses with fewer than 1,000 employees face negative consequences if they don’t enact the travel policies desired by their employees. More than half (53%) of these travelers would make changes if their company doesn’t provide the necessary policies or measures to protect their health and safety. This includes 29% who would try to limit their travel (despite their desire to travel) and 22% who would look for a new position.
In order to retain these employees, businesses need to walk a fine line: meet travelers where they are while also ensuring health and safety. Over two-thirds (69%) want their company to loosen restrictions to allow for better, flexibility-oriented policies (35%) or simply return to pre-COVID-19 travel policies (33%).
Find the full report here: Small-Medium Business Traveler Report 2021 – SAP Concur