Last updated: 10:24 AM ET, Tue June 30 2015

Survey Shows Business Travelers Are 'Practical, Health-Conscious'

Business Travel | Rich Thomaselli | June 30, 2015

Survey Shows Business Travelers Are 'Practical, Health-Conscious'

Photo courtesy of Thinkstock

Employees are surprisingly practical and health-conscious when traveling on the company dime, a new survey of business travelers shows.

Certify, an online travel and expense management software provider, conducted the 2015 “What Business Travelers Prefer” survey and results are based on 495 responses from employees in a wide array of functional roles at small to large companies nationwide.

Many business travelers said they stick to the same diet (40 percent) or indulge a little (35 percent) while traveling, with very few saying they took advantage of the company expense account (3 percent).

“Our survey shows that when traveling for work, employees prefer convenience and efficiency,” says Robert Neveu, CEO of Certify. “They choose vendors based on availability of service and lifestyle factors and they also make purchases based on value, as if the expense came out of their own pockets.”

Some highlights of the survey:

• Frequency: Most travelers take 2-4 business trips per year (45 percent), followed by once per year or less (29 percent), 5-9 trips (15 percent), and 10 or more trips (11 percent).

Ground transportation: Travelers prefer rental cars (41 percent), hotel shuttles (25 percent), and licensed taxis (20 percent) over ride-sharing and limousines (7 percent and 6 percent respectively).

• Hotel preferences: The most important factor when choosing a hotel for business travel is proximity to client or meeting (54 percent), followed by quality accommodations (20 percent), room rate (11 percent), and rewards program (8 percent). Less than 1 percent of travelers choose a hotel based on its proximity to the airport. The hotels business travelers feel have the nicest amenities are Marriott (33 percent), Hilton (27 percent), and Hyatt (21 percent).

• Airline preferences: Travelers choose their airline carrier based on scheduling needs (41 percent), followed by price (27 percent), company policy (17 percent), mileage rewards (10 percent), and connecting flights (6 percent). Delta and Southwest were tied (24 percent) for carriers based on respondents’ answer to the previous question. American (16 percent) and US Airways (12 percent) are the next two airlines preferred by travelers. The airline carrier with the friendliest service is Southwest (40 percent), followed by a not-close second of Delta (21 percent), and American (10 percent).

• Meals on the road: Employees say they frequently stick to the same diet (40 percent) or indulge a little (35 percent), while 14 percent rely on convenience and fast foods. Restaurant with the healthiest options according to travelers are Panera (47 percent) and Chipotle (27 percent) with 20 percent citing other choices. Only 3 percent of travelers chose Starbucks as a healthy option, even though the coffee chain is the most frequently-expensed restaurant two years running, according to Certify.

• Purchases on the road: Business travelers primarily make purchases based on value, as if the money were their own (46 percent) followed by convenience (31 percent), and price (20 percent) with a small percentage citing they make a purchase as a reward for traveling (3 percent).

• Top post-travel concerns: Upon returning home from a trip, employees are most concerned about: catching up on email (27 percent), followed by catching up with family (24 percent), and tracking down receipts and submitting expenses (17 percent).


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