New research from SAP Concur provides insights into the challenges facing Canadian business travellers this year.
The annual survey, which polls 3,850 business travellers in 25 global markets — including 250 respondents within Canada — is a touchpoint to assess the current business travel landscape.
According to the survey, 94 per cent of Canadians say the future of their career depends on successful business travel in the coming year, providing key opportunities to keep up on the latest trends, establish relationships with new clients, and maintain strong relationships with existing clients.
Furthermore, 96 per cent of Canadian business travellers believe cuts to travel budgets, inflation, and policy changes are among the top barriers to business travel.
"Business travel is the backbone of success for Canadian professionals, with 94 per cent recognizing its impact on their career growth in the year ahead," said Kristen Hrycoy, senior global partner business manager, SAP Concur.
"Corporate travel plays a vital role in helping workers establish relationships with new clients and build meaningful connections with co-workers. It is imperative for businesses to invest in the right travel and expense management tools to prioritize employee safety, gain better cost control, and create a travel environment that promotes inclusivity and equity for all."
A matter of safety
Companies’ financial concerns are forcing 28 per cent of travellers to stay in lower quality accommodations and/or in less safe areas.
The results also showed that Canadian business travellers are experiencing danger on the road, with more than half citing health and safety concerns as a top threat to business travel today.
58 per cent of respondents say they have changed accommodations on a business trip in the past 12 months because they felt unsafe, including 31 per cent who have done so more than once.
A sustainable future
Unequal business travel opportunities were reported as a concern for many Canadians, with 67 per cent of business travellers facing unequal opportunities, especially because of their ethnicity or race (22%, compared to 15% globally), their age (21%), their accent (16%), and their gender (16%).
The majority of Canadian business travellers at companies with a corporate travel policy (90%) expect their company to allow them to make travel choices that are outside of that policy for reasons like safety, work-life balance, and sustainability.
Respondents say they want to reduce their environmental impact by prioritizing trips with shorter distances (36%) and combining nearby trips into one longer one (34%).
Almost a quarter (24%) of travellers would decline a trip due to concerns over the environmental impact of travel.
Nearly half of respondents expect their employer to allow them to book travel that falls outside of company policy to ensure they feel safe while traveling in certain areas of the world (49%), underscoring the importance of business travel that is both safe and sustainable.
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