Report looks at new sharing economy trends, travel behaviours

business travelAn  innovative State of Business Travel 2016 report was released at the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) convention in Denver, Colorado on July 12 by Concur, the world’s leading provider of integrated travel and expense management solutions. In the report, Concur delivers a comprehensive look at where and how business travelers are spending. With business travel rapidly changing, and travel and expense representing the second-largest area of controllable business spend, the insights in this report will allow companies to better design their travel and spend policies, which in turn influences their bottom line.

Concur analyzed business travel booking and expense reporting data from its database of more than 40 million users, representing more than $76 billion in annual spend. By presenting this mass of data in the context of six business traveler personas – a first in the industry – Concur makes this information more relevant and actionable for companies.

Meet the personas:

  • Savvy Sam is a power traveler who travels 40 percent of the time, taking approximately 25 trips per year.
  • Jet Setter Jeremy is typically a C-suite executive who travels frequently, preferring to fly first-class and stay at five-star hotels.
  • High-tech Hannah is a young millennial who travels once a quarter, often combining personal and business travel, while staying budget conscious.
  • Approving Manager Alan doesn’t travel much himself, but is responsible for approving travel and expense reports and keeping budgets in line.
  • Travel Arranger Tanya books for others and files expense reports for teammates several times a week.
  • Cautious Carl travels just once or twice a year for business. He typically plans far in advance and isn’t familiar with policies and process.

“Developing these rich personas is a brilliant idea. Concur is uniquely qualified to provide such a comprehensive perspective, due to its extensive treasure trove of business spending data,” said Henry Harteveldt, founder and industry analyst at Atmosphere Research Group. “Concur’s State of Business Travel report transforms data from endless pages of dull numbers into relatable and understandable characters. The personas make planning and administering business travel programs easier, more accessible, more relatable, and more useful for travel managers and financial decision makers.”

Business Traveler Behaviors

The State of Business Travel report confirms that not all business travelers are created equal. In some cases, a company may want to tailor its travel policy to account for the unique needs of its travelers, from frequent flyers and road warriors to once-a-year travelers.

  • More than half of all business travelers are “Cautious Carls,” but Carls account for only 14 percent of total business travel spend.
  • “High-tech Hannahs” and “Cautious Carls” care more about price than other types of travelers, while “Savvy Sams” and “Jet Setter Jeremys” (who contribute to 46 percent of total business travel spend) are more concerned with comfort and convenience.
  • When it comes to air travel, “Jet Setter Jeremys” consistently spend the most because they are more likely to book at the last minute and opt for premium seats.

“Managing travel and expense is becoming increasingly complex, between integration with mobile technology, nuances in traveler preferences, and new travel supplier strategies,” said Robb Nielsen, vice president of global product experience at Concur. “This demands a fully connected travel and expense ecosystem paired with actionable insights, giving travel managers the visibility and control they need to drive cost savings.”

Sharing Economy on the Rise

While it’s no surprise home-sharing services like Airbnb, VRBO, and HomeAway are increasing in popularity among business travelers, Concur data indicates a dramatic 56-percent growth in usage from Q1 2015 to Q1 2016. On average, business travelers stay five nights when home sharing, compared to three nights when staying at a traditional hotel.

Meanwhile, Atmosphere Research Group data from 2015 shows that 8 percent of U.S. business travelers used home-sharing accommodations at least once on a business trip. According to Harteveldt, this number is expected to approach 10 percent in 2016 as more companies approve the use of home-sharing services, and home-sharing hosts improve property amenities – such as higher-quality bedding and faster, more reliable Wi-Fi connectivity.

Existing and Emerging Business Travel Markets: U.S. vs. China

From conferences, to leadership meetings, to sales trips – business travels take employees to locations far and wide. But different cities come at different costs. In 2015, Concur business travelers spent the most in New York, Chicago, and San Francisco among U.S. cities, while the U.K., Canada, and China took top rankings for spend outside the U.S.

China’s growth as a business travel market is increasingly driven by Chinese travelers, rather than international visitors to the country,” added Harteveldt. “In fact, Boeing’s Long Term Market Outlook for 2015 to 2034 estimates Chinese airlines will order 6,130 new aircraft (from all manufacturers), or 17 percent of all new aircraft. The 146,590 hotel rooms under construction in China in May 2016 account for more than 56 percent of the total hotel rooms being built across Asia, according to Smith Travel Research.”

They Spent What, Where?

Last year, Concur processed 86 million expense reports, while Concur users booked 46 million flights and expensed 74 million hotel nights, nearly $10 billion in ground transportation, and $12 billion in dining and entertainment. The data led to some surprising facts from 2015:

  • Several Concur log-ins have originated from the International Space Station
  • The single highest line item submitted on an expense report was for $2.2 million
  • Monday, November 30 was the busiest day for expense reports, with 534,669 reports submitted
  • 60 percent of Concur expense reports are simple, with an average of five line items, and are completed in an average of eight minutes or less
  • 84 people expensed between 360 and 365 hotel days
  • Concur’s busiest 1 percent of travelers boarded an average of 146 flights
  • The most expensive car rental expensed was for $31,082 in Tulsa, Oklahoma
  • The most expensive ride sharing transaction was for $27,244 in New York, New York

About Concur 

Concur, an SAP company, imagines the way the world should work, offering cloud-based services that make it simple to manage travel and expenses. By connecting data, applications and people, Concur delivers an effortless experience and total transparency into spending wherever and whenever it happens. Concur services adapt to individual employee preferences and scale to meet the needs of companies from small to large, so they can focus on what matters most for their businesses. – PRNewswire

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