The GBTA (Global Business Travel Association) recently surveyed 220 travel managers in the US and Canada to ascertain how they expect the management of business travel may change following the Covid-19 pandemic.
One third of the companies surveyed had travel budgets of less than $10M; one third had less than $30M, and one third had a budget of +$30M. Companies ranged in industry, including Professional Services, Healthcare and Finance.
Below are the results, on what was a sustainability focused survey.
Even so, only one in four organizations consider their “carbon footprint” to be a top priority. It pales in comparison to other return-to-travel concerns, such as cost control and duty of care.
Only 25% of companies put social or environmental impact in their top 3 priorities.
Among travel buyers and procurement professionals, many report they spend “more” or “much more” time than before the pandemic collaborating with other company stakeholders, particularly Security/Risk Management (66%), Human Resources (51%) and Senior Management/C-suite (46%).
Even with business travel down from years prior due to COVID-19, more than one-third (37%) of travel buyers and procurement professionals say they are “more” or “much more” reliant now on their travel management company (TMC) than they were before the pandemic.
On top of – and perhaps because of – these competing priorities, companies struggle to implement meaningful sustainability initiatives. While six out of 10 companies have a sustainability policy, only a third of companies have a sustainability programme that includes business travel.
The rare programmes that do exist only go as far as to measure the carbon footprint of travel (the most popular effort, included in 58% of policies). Less than a quarter of companies have rolled out any other initiative, including behaviour-based change. For example, 19% mandate or encourage sustainable transportation or accommodation options, and a mere 7% incentivise employees to choose these options.
Two in five (41%) GBTA members and stakeholders report their company has re-evaluated the return on investment for business travel in terms of its importance and value. Among those who report their company is currently re-evaluating, top areas include increased emphasis on traveler wellbeing and safety (56%); increased use of hybrid meetings (combined in-person and virtual) (52%); Reduced travel for internal collaboration meetings (49%) and reduction in overall travel costs (48%).
Actual measures taken by sustainable travel programmes are limited, focused mainly on measuring carbon footprint.
Few companies (22%) take a vendor’s sustainability posture into consideration when making purchase decisions. Even if they did, it would be unlikely to influence them. The vast majority of organisations – 85% – are unwilling to pay more to work with a sustainable vendor, and just 2% are willing to pay more than a 10% price premium for more sustainable travel options.
Companies are only willing to pay the same or less for sustainable vendors.
Sustainable Travel Programme
Responsible travel isn’t just about calculating your carbon footprint per trip and planting a tree to make you feel better about yourself. It’s ensuring the future of our planet for business travellers to come. That’s why we’ve teamed up with Forest Carbon and our own parent company, Inchcape Family Estate in Scotland, to devise a meaningful and practical solution to sustainable travel. With woodland and peatland developments throughout the UK, you can see and touch the difference this programme makes.
Now is the time to build a lasting and tangible carbon-offset programme for your business travel impact. Now is the time to build a Legacy.
To help you navigate the changes of business travel, we’ve created the brand-new Traveller Toolkit. This invaluable online resource is packed full of easy-to-use guides and checklists for every stage of every journey. We detail exactly what you need to know and do before, during and after your trip.
You’ll also find innovative and interactive virtual trips, which walk you through each step of being at the airport, on the train and in the hotel. You can even check the travel restrictions and health status of your destination with our comprehensive COVID-19 Country Tracker, updated five times daily to ensure you have the very latest information to help keep you and your travellers safe.
Travel is changing. But with common sense and a good TMC behind you, travellers should have the confidence to once again take to the skies. It’ll soon be business as (un)usual.