Last updated: 08:43 PM ET, Thu July 02 2015

GBTA Index Sheds Light on US Business Travelers' Sentiments

Business Travel | Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) | Patrick Clarke | May 11, 2015

GBTA Index Sheds Light on US Business Travelers' Sentiments

When it comes to business travel, millennials appear to be more willing than other generations to experiment with the newest travel technology and services.

According to the initial installment of the Global Business Travel Association's Business Traveler Sentiment Index — which polled 826 U.S. business travelers in December 2014 and was produced in partnership with American Express Global Corporate Payments — close to 40 percent of travelers ages 18 to 34 claim they will definitely or probably use a mobile, cashless wallet within the next year, compared to just 20 percent of business travelers of all ages.

What's more, nearly 50 percent said they are interested in rideshare services like Uber and Lyft. And more than one third (35 percent) are interested in room-finding services like Airbnb and others.

The index also reveals that roughly 50 percent of millennial travelers are utilizing social media to review companies and organize time with coworkers and friends. Compare that to just 29 percent of all business travelers. 

In addition to highlighting millennial travelers' willingness to try new things, the index reveals a handful of other critical insights. 

The research shows that most travelers are generally satisfied with their overall experience (even if some areas can be improved), convenience is often more important than cost, and that a majority of frequent business travelers struggle to manage their expenses on the road. 

More than half of business travelers acknowledged that they are satisfied or very satisfied with airline travel (57 percent) and the process of passing through airport security (55 percent), however many consider airline delays (45 percent), airport security (33 percent), and airline fees (29 percent) as the leading reasons for why travel is more difficult today than in recent years.

When booking flights, more than one-third of business travelers (36 percent) look for a convenient flight schedule first and foremost. Ticket price (24 percent) and the ability to earn miles (20 percent) are the second-biggest considerations. 

"Time is money for business travelers, so it comes as no surprise that U.S. travelers place such a high premium on convenience," said GBTA Foundation vice president Joseph Bates in a statement. "While a more convenient flight or a hotel closer to the meeting may cost slightly more, it is worth it to business travelers and their companies if it allows them to be more productive and maximize their time."

The index also found that, on average, business travelers who take a dozen or more trips per year are generally less satisfied with their ability to track receipts compared to those who take less trips. And nearly two-thirds of all business travelers are highly satisfied with processes they use to track receipts and fill out expense reports. 

When it comes to spending on travel, three-quarters of business travelers say they are highly satisfied using a corporate credit card to pay for related expenses, while slightly fewer, about two-thirds, are highly satisfied using their personal card to cover the bill. 

"The Index identifies the greatest pain points for business travelers, indicating to organizations which areas to target for improvement," said American Express Global Corporate Payments senior vice president Susan Chapman-Hughes in a statement. "In the area of expense management, for example, companies would be wise to invest resources into mobile apps and expense management solutions to help business travelers save time and be more productive."


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