BELLEVUE, Wash. — New research from SAP Concur has revealed the most pressing challenges facing Canadian business travellers. Serving as an annual touchpoint to assess the realities of the business-travel landscape, the survey uncovers how factors including economic inflation, job security and safety concerns are impacting corporate travel. The survey polls 3,850 business travellers in 25 global markets, which includes 250 respondents in Canada.
The top Canadian findings include:
Job security is dependent on business travel
Even as the logistics of business travel become increasingly subject to economic volatility, 94 per cent of Canadian travellers say the future of their career depends on successful business travel in the coming year. For nearly half of Canadian business travellers, travel is critical for keeping up on the latest trends, technology and advancements (48 per cent) and establishing relationships with new clients (47 per cent).
“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,” says 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’s 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.”
Business travel is increasingly subject to economic volatility
According to the research, 44 per cent of Canadian respondents view inflation as one of the biggest threats to business travel today, while 33 per cent express the same concern regarding cuts to travel budgets or travel freezes. For 91 per cent of Canadian business travellers, the uncertain economy is already affecting their company’s business travel, with the most common impact being reduced travel budgets (47 per cent). Many have also seen policy changes that impact the comfort and pleasure of their business travel, including requiring travellers to stay in lower quality accommodations and/or less safe areas (28 per cent) or emphasizing lower airfares despite layovers, indirect routes or alternative airports (28 per cent).
Canadian business travellers are experiencing danger on the road
The most commonly viewed threat to business travel is health-and-safety concerns (51 per cent). Over a quarter of Canadian business travellers (27 per cent) have experienced a situation on a business trip where they felt they were in immediate danger. The vast majority of travellers at companies with a corporate travel policy (90 per cent) expect their company to allow them to make travel choices that are outside of that policy for reasons such as safety, work-life balance and sustainability. Nearly half expect their employer to allow them to book travel that falls outside of company policy to ensure they feel safe while travelling in certain areas of the world (49 per cent).
Unequal business-travel opportunities are concerning some Canadians
A significant disparity exists in the Canadian business travel landscape, with an alarming 67 per cent of business travellers facing unequal opportunities, especially because of their ethnicity or race (22 per cent, compared to 15 per cent globally), their age (21 per cent), their accent (16 per cent) and their gender (16 per cent). These findings underscore the pressing need to address systemic biases and create a more inclusive and equitable environment for Canadian business travellers.