Check key facts about business travel statistics to explore trends here. We’ve compiled them from official material to help you take the right decision.
International travellers have risen significantly during the last decade, and business travellers continue to dominate the industry. Business trips contribute a lot to regular flights, and they will continue to grow in the upcoming years by 188%.
In this post, we will round up all facts you need to know about business travel statistics, and whether you have a travel business or travel around for work, you will find this relevant. But first, we need to identify what business travel is.
What is Business Travel?
Every business trip is taken by employing staff for work’s sake, such as concluding an agreement, attending an event or trading show, contributing to conferences, or meeting with stakeholders. These trips can be international or domestic.
These journeys vary between a single-day trip, a night tour, or more than 2 weeks. However, it should conclude all aspects of a standard trip, from transportation, lodging, and, if you’re lucky, leisure after finishing the business tours.
General Business Travel Statistics
“I am travelling next week for work stuff.” Thanks to globalisation, it becomes increasingly common to travel to Eastern Asia, the USA, or Dubai for business expansion or to bring some raw materials for your business.
That has changed the business landscape and the travel industry. As a result, many people have postponed their long-waiting vacations to the forthcoming business travel and kill two birds with one stone.
Airlines run many business activities each year, with the exception of the pandemic period when travel had been halted everywhere, and many companies are still fighting to survive. Some suggest that the industry will not recover until 2027.
But let’s uncover some general interesting business travel statistics:
- The UK ranked sixth in global business travel expenses, calculating $18 billion. (Source: Statista)
- 1.3 million people are travelling every day for business in the US ALONE. (Source Zippa)
- Almost 445 million business trips are run every year. (Source: Certificate Registration)
- The business travel industry is expected to rise by 3% in 2027, generating roughly US$829.5 (Source: ReportLinker, 2020)
- Business travellers represent only 12% of the entire travelling segment; however, they are responsible for 75% of travelling revenues. (Source: Investopedia, 2020)
Most Important Business Travel Statistics in the UK
Here are our picks for general business travel statistics in the UK:
- Employers or business owners spend an average of 6 days on a business trip.
- The same audience spent about £2.5 billion while visiting Europe. At the same time, around £8.9 billion were squandered in North America. That is, for sure, due to higher flight prices.
- The UK people spend more than £4.7 billion on oversea trips, while domestic trips result in £4.4 billion in expenditures.
- British people make about 710,000 international business trips every month, while they plan to produce roughly 550,000 inbound trips monthly.
- 2019 witnessed the highest expenses spent by business travellers per night on international trips, with an average of £136, while they spent more than £309 on domestic job missions during the overall trip.
Top Business Travel Statistics
Investing in business travel has become a priority for many companies worldwide. As a result, this industry has witnessed inclusive growth during the last few years, especially when overseas firms allocated around £670 per person for business travel plans.
In the following, we will explore more business travel statistics to understand how this trend has become a significant category for any travelling agency to consider in its marketing strategy. So, grip your pen in your hand and take notes.
What is the Size of Global Business Travel?
Source: Allied Market Research
In 2020, the business travel industry was estimated at $700 billion. Keep in mind that it happened when the world was in a break and turned upside down during the pandemic, which means this number could magnify shortly.
It’s expected to surge steadily by 2025 from $120 billion in 2020 to over $350 billion.
How Much Do UK Business Travellers Spend?
The average UK traveller for business spends roughly £469 during the trip, while the American spend around 796. Interesting!
It seems that Americans love being pampered even when they’re working.
How Much Do Travel Businesses Contribute to UK Economy?
People who travel for business purposes contribute £80 billion to the UK economy while generating £280 billion in annual revenue in the US, including domestic and international trips. That’s only the direct impact.
Let’s look at the bigger picture. According to the US Travel Association, business travel has an enormous impact on different support chains, injecting the economy with $791 billion annually (Some reports lowered this number to $547 billion. Anyway, it drives a huge impact on the US economy).
Business travel spending enhances the growth rate by more than 4.6%. It attributes to the size of the American states and the many thousands of domestic flights that are operated every day.
This rate is higher than the annual gross domestic product (GDP). Moreover, this number continued to grow until the pandemic arrived, which forced the world to slow down.
What was the Impact of the Pandemic on the Travel Business?
Despite the annual increase, the pandemic sharply hit the travel industry, especially in the first year. It walloped all carriers, and business trips were no exception. As a result, the companies put their experiences on travel at a minimum, 10% less than the pre-pandemic level. That caused tremendous losses estimated at $700 billion in 2020. For instance, the US received only 700,000 international business travellers in 2022— that’s still 80% less than expected compared to 2019.
Additionally, roughly 92% of business travellers worldwide cancelled their plans to fly domestically or internationally in April 2020, and 38% of companies called off any business travel, even domestic, by October 2021. Moreover, the corporate trips run in the US declined to 185 million compared to 464 million in 2019. The largest reduction in this industry happened in the US airlines, with more than 90%.
Once high medical firms announced that they had produced an effective vaccine, many corporates were ready to bring their employees again to the office. But others found no shame in setting a remote working policy— especially when different variants, including delta and omicron, were just around the corner and concerns about a new crisis were about to happen. The first ones who were optimistic about reunification had to push back. Online meetings were widely used even for high-level professionalism.
The travel business resumed at the end of 2021, but not at the same pace as expected. Only 8% of corporate travel had been organised shortly. On the other side, many experts emphasised that the revenues garnered from business travel will never return as the world has identified a new effective and money-efficient way to communicate.
So, why step back to the traditional method of gathering? (check the trends section to find out more!)
Not just that, but business travel worldwide lost more than $694 billion during the difficult times of the pandemic. In addition, according to business travel statistics by CNN, travel businesses lost about $820 billion in travel expenses due to employee absences.
The impact of the pandemic on business travel varies depending on the country’s size and population, so let’s break down some facts about travel spending:
- The largest amount went to China, with a total loss of $404 billion, based on business travel statistics by the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA). Not to forget that China’s companies spent 98% of 2019 levels on domestic business trips. That reflects how corporates in Chain appreciate business travels as a growth milestone.
- Then there is Europe, with an estimated loss of $190.5 billion, followed by Asia-Pacific, which incurred $120.2 billion.
When Did Business Travel Start to Recover?
In 2021, the world started to heave a sigh of relief and companies booked trips for their employees, totalling 13.6% (229 million) of US air travellers. That represented a considerable increase after a year like nothing before.
Do Employees Like Business Travel?
Of course, they do! But don’t take my word for it. This is based on a survey conducted by Amadeus which found out that 9 in 10 workers love to hear, “we will send you ANYWHERE to represent our company.” So it’s a nice perk!
Who Likes Travelling the Most?
Most millennials love business travelling. Not only that, but 65% of them think it’s a status symbol or a prestigious standard. You travel for work? WOW, you’re absolutely an elegant businessperson!
Despite business travel, Skift, a travel news site, reported that the same age segment usually plans to journey out 7 times annually, including local or global trips.
How many Business Trips are Taken to the UK?
Around 8 million trips left the UK in 2018, while there were more than 1.3 million business travellers daily in the US, making approximately 500 million visits yearly. This number has dramatically increased during the last 10 years.
What about people who travel to the UK for business?
More than 6.6 million corporate flights have landed in the UK.
Which Countries are Considered the Most Expensive Business Travel?
Source: The Global Business Travel Association
The answer is Hong Kong. People travelling through this area tend to spend more than £431 per day, followed by New York, with over £415.
Can We Compare Business and Leisure Travel? Which is larger?
No, It’s incomparable. However, if you want a little insight, consider that business travel represents only 20% of the entire travel industry, including leisure. So, it’s still not too much.
Most Important Facts about US Business Travel Statistics
Source: Finance Online
The US comes to the top of the list of the countries that send the most business travellers, whether for domestic or international business trips. Furthermore, some analyses referred that this number will shrink during the coming years due to the convenience offered by online meetings. Online become faster, cheaper, and more trouble-free. This deflation in the number of international cooperation trips incurred a $162 billion loss to the US economy.
Yes, in terms of money-wise, virtual meetings are the BEST, but also for sustainability plans and climate-change awareness. However, 56% of business travellers don’t consider environmental crises a priority. In comparison, 21% highlight the adverse circumstances of carbon footprint and find it a top priority.
The bright side is that many business travel statistics indicate that, by 2025, 33% of companies are examining minimising 11-25% of travel budgets. On the other hand, Statista reported that the size of international conferences, meetings, and events is supposed to be augmented to $1.8 billion in 2030 compared to $920 million in 2019.
For me, I will go with the second speculation. Just have a look at the number of events during late 2022 and 2023!
The United States ONLY planned to host more than 33 thousand business and professional events until the first quarter of 2023, followed by the UK, which is organised to welcome 6.4 thousand events.
How Does a Business Traveller Spend Money?
Source: Getting Back to Business Report
Half of this spending is allocated to accommodations and flights.
If you can take the US as an example, business travellers spend over $334.2 billion holding in-person meetings, attending prestigious trade show events, or participating in scientific conferences. So, where do these billions go?
The report suggests that around $94 billion are spent on accommodations (and another $22 billion for retail), and airlines receive approximately $70 billion.
Then, you can divide the expenses into $65 billion for internal transportation and about $66 billion for food and beverage (WOW, that’s A LOT).
Also, as we mentioned before, business travellers can hide under the cloak of work and meetings, but most of the time, they make their time to explore the cities they visit.
According to business travel statistics, this type of traveller spends $17 billion on entertainment. (Yes, it’s not surprising at all. 81% of business travellers make their time for leisure between catching meetings and a day before leaving)
This budget also includes the cost of hosting these meetings and events, amounting to $139 billion.
Is Business Travel Important for Countries’ Economy?
Source: Getting Back to Business Report
Absolutely! This industry generates more than 2.5 million jobs (directly or indirectly) in the US. Some reports outline that corporate trips create much as 4.9 million jobs in multiple sectors. It provides social services with 264k jobs, retail services with 230k, and other manufacturing industries with 200k.
What about the only jobs that have been created directly from corporate travels?
More than 700,000 ONLY in the US.
At first sight, you might notice that business trips hardly contribute 12% of US air travel. But this insufficient proportion generates more than 75% of carriers’ profits. However, it’s not only about money. The outcome of the travel business goes beyond that.
It’s the power of knowledge. Experts argued that companies should encourage this type of activity to exchange information and know-how. When business leaders come together in one place, they become more open to discussing unique business outlooks.
Alright, the expenditures behind business travel can boost the global economy widely— even faster than GDP, but the value of exchanging ideas is priceless. Moreover, mobilising unique knowledge in brains facilitates development by transmitting different experiences through countries or cities.
How Many Companies Are Operating Business Travel?
Source: SAP Concur
Not so many! Only 35% of all corporates in the US allocate a budget for business travel. This budget represents 10% of all business operation expenses. Another report by Fyle indicated that companies spend around 1500 for every individual when taking off for a business trip.
If you get hired at one of them, GOOD LUCK!
How Much Do Companies Spend on Corporate Trips?
Source: Travel Pulse
Over $111 billion has been consumed on overall corporate trips annually, with an average of 1300 per trip and $949 in total travel fees. Want to know how this budget is distributed? $31 billion is assigned to international tours (34% for accommodation, 27% for flights and 20% for food and beverages and 19% for rentals).
Is it Worth it?
Source: Emburse Certify
Definitely! Companies said they are operating many business trips as it was proven the more they spent, the more profits and revenues they generated.
In other words, each dollar can bring around a $3 profit and add $10 to revenues. Moreover, according to GBTA, 90% of managers said business travel accelerates their companies’ growth in the long term.
How Many Times do People Travel for Business?
Source: Global Business Travel Association
It depends on the corporate industry and the managerial level of frequented-travelling individuals. But speaking generally, businesspersons who have much stuff to do worldwide travel twice monthly.
Who is Travelling More? Men or Women?
63% of business travellers are male, and 50% are between 35 and 54. That makes sense, as people who conquer managerial positions exist in this age segment.
What are the Most Visited Countries for Business Purposes?
According to a Travel and Tourism Development Index survey, business travel statistics show travellers prefer the US and Canada as business (not recreation) destinations.
What are the Most Common Business Travel Trends?
Travel Digitalization. That means everything will be handled online, and not only booking accommodations and flights online. The industry might be shifted to hyper-personalisation. To stay relevant, companies are working to improve passengers’ experience by offering more customised services based on their preference to watch a specific movie on the plane to cater a decent in-flight meal.
Why do we say that?
Well, the smartphone has become the number one device to check in online, as 51% of respondents indicated in IATA’s survey. 35% of travellers think this trend will grow steadily in the near future. Not to mention that 57% of travellers said they are frustrated with tons of applications they need to secure their trips: one for accommodation, another for flights, and a different one for car rentals.
From our perspective, it would be easier to have a one-all app.
As Americans are the Most Business Travellers, Which Companies Spend the Most on Trips?
AMAZON. Yes, the number 1 travel spender sends its employees worldwide for business trips, followed by Deloitte, which spends an average of $500 million for this kind of trip.
What is the Most Popular International Destination for Business Travellers?
London is the most popular international business destination. But for US business travellers, being the most active people who journey out for corporate trips, it’s Mexico, totalling 33% of all trips.
Business Travel Trends
Despite inflation and price increase around the globe, many managers are ready to grow their travel budget to pre-pandemic levels. These thoughts are not limited to companies that offer six-figure jobs. Even smaller companies want to run wild and explore new prospects by operating more business trips, which will be beneficial for low-cost facilities (airlines, 3-star hotels, and more).
With all this in mind, we need to talk more about business travel trends and predictions and what companies plan to do this year.
Hybridised Events Will Be Widely Hold
Many companies have adopted a flexible hybrid work model since the pandemic breakout. That includes events and meetings, where people can attend through their screens, while others prefer to be there physically. In general, video meetings are efficient, but only for short-period calls.
But who is ready to be glued in their seat for more than 30 minutes to participate in a virtual event? We can be easily distracted, and the core of the meeting will drift a little bit.
If you plan to do something requiring long concentration hours, in-person meetings will beat any technology.
At the same time, business travel is not accessible for everyone tied to a schedule, budget, and health concerns. That’s why hybridised events will continue to be common for international occasions.
Every businessperson can participate in any preferred events and open the door for decision makers and influencers to get a taste of which type of meeting they like the most; online or in-person.
Also, it enhances the overall business growth by approaching new audiences who might be interested in investing in a certain domain and doesn’t have the chance to discuss it with business-minded figures.
For instance, a company based in Italy plans to expand in North Africa, and there is a promising event in Morocco. Once managers can take part in an event in Morocco, it will encourage them to fly there for a more personalised experience.
Mental Health is Crucial
After employees were allowed to work from home, they were confused about how to be committed to their work and enjoy their life. However, they had the upper hand in managing their time without commuting, and that’s where their mental health lies.
Not being trapped in traffic and losing long hours driving to and from the office made them more productive and agile to take the initiative.
Many studies showed that employees experienced less stress as they had more time for socialising or doing something they could enjoy.
Now more than ever, companies that offer travel perks or a mobility budget tend to attract the most qualified employees. Eventually, it will boost your company’s reputation and retention.
That leads us to…
Blesiure Will Be More Common
In case you don’t know, bleisure combines the words “business” and “leisure”, describing people who take advantage of business travel to have fun. It was coined for the first time in 2009 but has recently gained popularity as the pandemic allowed people to work from anywhere.
How has this impacted the travel industry?
You can rarely find any hotel that doesn’t offer a good WiFi service and a decent space to work or hold a virtual meeting. That means you can mix your business trip with more fun activities that make you enjoy blesiure!
Or instead of just 3 days to be part of a trade fare and go back home, you can extend your vacation for relaxation, explore a new spot, seek adventure, or visit friends.
It gives them the experience of being on top of the world. Additionally, it wards off the feeling of burnout produced by work stress.
Just remember that 43% of managers said that their second most desired perk is when they are allowed to stay for an extra night after they are done with their business meetings.
Wondering what is the first perk?
Simply, it’s when their company permits them to book with their favourite airline. Interesting!
Likewise, some ask for more— 93% wished their companies paid more for recreation during their business trips.
As you got this far, you have learned all business travel statistics. However, if you have missed any other important travel business aspects, let us know in the comments!