Canadian business travellers overwhelmingly want to return to travel, according to a new report commissioned by Sap Concur.
A total of 3,850 business travellers in 25 global markets, including 250 in Canada, were surveyed.
Here are the top five Canadian findings.
1. Canadian travellers are ready to get back in the air.
Nearly nine in 10 Canadian business travellers are ready to resume travel in the next 12 months. This is driven by travellers’ belief that they will suffer if their company does not increase business travel in the next year.
However, to feel comfortable, they expect increased flexibility, marking changes in how they travel and do business. In fact, Canadian travellers are looking to mix time in the air with time off. Ninety-two per cent plan to add leisure travel to their business trips in the next 12 months. Half say they’ll do so 25 per cent or more of the time (compared to 38 per cent globally).
2. Canadian travellers worry failing to resume travel will hurt their career and lives.
For many, business travel is tied to their career success and fulfillment, so much so that more than three-quarters of Canadian business travellers worry the inability to increase business travel will affect them personally. Their concerns include difficulty developing and maintaining business connections (49 per cent), not advancing in their career (33 per cent) and making less money (26 per cent). Eighty-five per cent of female business travellers fear personal or professional consequences if they don’t increase business travel in the coming year, significantly more than the 70 per cent of men who say the same.
As a result, almost two-thirds of Canadian business travellers say they are driving the return to the skies rather than their company, largely in part because they view their trips as opportunities to strengthen business relationships and broaden their horizons, and almost half of Canadian business want to make personal connections with customers and colleagues.
3. Flexibility is a top driver for Canadian business travellers.
In a key departure from the narrative of the previous year, 73 per cent of Canadian business travellers rank flexibility as a top consideration for business travel, well ahead of vaccination-related demands at 65 per cent. This includes everything from planning through the completion of their trips — business travellers cite being able to select their preferred accommodations (51 per cent) and mode of travel (37 per cent) as essential travel perks. Findings suggest structured policies are not an issue for business travellers, provided they are up-to-date. Those whose company has a mandated travel policy (54 per cent) or guidelines (32 per cent) also see the ability to book travel directly on supplier websites as an essential benefit.
4. Canadian business travellers do not want pre-COVID-19 travel policies to stay in place.
Nearly 75 per cent of business travellers do not want their company to return to pre-COVID-19 policy. One-third expect their company to adjust by allowing modifications to policies for health and safety. Business travellers with mandated policies (69 per cent) or guidelines (51 per cent) want looser restrictions. With greater flexibility, among other adjustments, they’d take trips closer to home (38 per cent and 41 per cent, respectively), stay at larger hotels (33 per cent and 35 per cent) and use their own car or rental instead of public transportation (40 per cent and 24 per cent).
5. Canadian travellers feel safety is a shared responsibility.
Last year, more than one-third of business travellers held themselves most accountable for their health and safety on a trip, followed by the transportation providers (19 per cent) and their employer (14 per cent). Now, after experiencing the pandemic, a quarter hold themselves most responsible, followed by their company’s travel agency (21 per cent) and their employer (19 per cent).
Forty-five per cent of business travellers say the most stressful stage of the business trip comes before it, suggesting they need more support and solutions for planning their trips.