Business travelers are taking to the skies just as much as in previous years, but they are increasingly taking time out for themselves, according to new research released today by American Express Global Business Travel. The survey, which analyzed the habits of business travelers in the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia, found that U.S. business travelers are traveling just as often, and some more frequently, than they did in 2012, but are increasingly taking time out for themselves while on the road.
Mixing Business with Pleasure
The survey found that U.S. business travelers are taking an average of seven business trips by air each year. The survey also found that those who travel outside of the U.S. for business reported taking an average of six international trips annually. According to the survey, 35% of U.S. business travelers are making more day trips compared to overnight stays; however, two-thirds of U.S. business travelers surveyed say they have extended a business trip in order to take a personal vacation in the past year.
Of those surveyed, 35% of U.S. business travelers reported that their companies are willing to cover the cost of Wi-Fi while flying. For U.S. business travelers surveyed whose companies do not cover this expense, 38% noted that they would be willing to pay for Wi-Fi access out-of-pocket. However, in spite of overall better connectivity and Wi-Fi access while in the air, it seems that travelers actually prefer to have a break from work – with 61% of U.S. business traveler respondents saying they look forward to disconnecting while in flight, as it gives them the chance to take a break and unwind. In fact, only 23% of U.S. business travelers surveyed work while on long-haul flights and 56% say they take the time to turn on a movie or dive into a good book. Socializing or networking seems to be the last thing on their minds, with only 1% of U.S. business travelers surveyed using their time to interact with other passengers.
"As Millennials begin to make up a larger portion of the global workforce, we’re seeing more corporate employee travel behaviors that focus on alleviating travel-related stress," said Kevin Carey, Vice President & General Manager, Global Client Group, American Express Global Business Travel. "These travelers place a higher value on work/life balance and are savvy about how to travel efficiently. They make the most of their time on the road and maintain their mental and physical health while away from the office."
The Healthy, Relaxed Traveler
In an added effort to relieve stress and stay healthy, the majority of U.S. business travelers surveyed say they turn to a combination of diet and exercise in order to maintain good health while traveling. According to the survey, more than seven out of ten (74%) frequent U.S. business travelers say they drink extra water, 48% stretch on the plane, and almost half use the gym at the hotel (44%). In terms of diet and nutrition, 20% of the U.S. business travelers surveyed avoid alcohol and 41% supplement their diet with vitamins.
The Ups and Downs of Business Travel
According to 21% of U.S. business travelers surveyed, being seated behind a child or infant is the worst place on the plane to sit followed by the restroom (14%), next to someone who takes over the armrest (11%), beside a talkative seatmate (10%), and next to someone who snores (6%).
Further, to make their trips more comfortable and efficient, the most common travel-related services U.S. business travelers surveyed like to take advantage of overall are Wi-Fi in the hotel, followed by a hotel breakfast and pre-boarding options. If their company is picking up the tab, airfare upgrades, Wi-Fi in the hotel and extra legroom on flights round out the top three services that are most desired by those U.S. business traveler respondents.
The survey also asked business travelers to share their number one tip for surviving business travel. Tied for first are ‘travel light /carry-on only’ and ‘be patient and relax.’ This might be useful to keep in mind, as the most common items U.S. business travelers surveyed forget to pack are umbrellas, phone chargers, toiletries and business cards.
About American Express Global Business Travel
Positioned at the intersection of commerce and travel, American Express Global Business Travel offers its customers a comprehensive network, service dependability, and deep insight to help move people and businesses forward. American Express Global Business Travel provides leading travel solutions, integrated consulting services, proprietary research, and end-to-end meetings and events capabilities. These innovative offerings enable clients to optimize the return on their travel and meetings investments. Learn more at americanexpress.com/businesstravel.
American Express Global Business Travel is part of one of the world's largest travel agency networks with locations in 138 countries worldwide.
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 The research was conducted among a random sample of business travelers in the US, UK and Australia, in June 2013. Approximately 500 business travelers were interviewed in each country.