Canadian Business Travellers Look To Technology To Ease Concerns When Travel Returns: SAP Concur Survey

Although it is difficult to predict what the future of business travel will look like, one thing that’s certain is the key role technology will play in easing the concerns of business travellers.

A recent survey of business travellers by SAP Concur – a leader in integrated travel, expense and invoice management solutions – shows:

  • Mobile check-in is the most important mobile app feature (52%) Canadians want when travel resumes, followed by traveller safety information (38%,), the ability to book air travel (38%), andthe ability to view and manage their trip itinerary (36%). 
  • Canadian business travellers are looking for a breadth of on-demand functions, including loyalty programs (30%), the ability to automatically create and submit an expense report (21%), and even the ability to track and offset their carbon footprint (12%)
    • Nearly 3 in 10 (28%) also want automatic notifications for out-of-policy bookings or expenses.
  • 93 per cent of Canadian business travellers note some measures are critical for safely returning to the road, especially mandatory personal health screenings for travelling employees (40%), limiting travel to only the most critical trips (38%), and real-time health and safety updates (34%).
  • When travel starts, Canadian business travellers are most likely to start their booking with online travel agencies (24%) or directly with an airline or hotel website/app (22%). 

Additional findings:

Notable highlights of the 200 responding Canadian business travellers in the global study include:

·       Business travel plays an important role in the success of today’s enterprise:

o   Canadian business travellers expect their company to experience negative outcomes due to travel restrictions around COVID-19, including a reduced number of deals or contracts signed that require in-person interactions (51%) and declines in new business wins that require in-person meetings (44%).

·       Business travellers expect an increase in discrimination against certain groups while travelling:

  • Nearly 9 in 10 Canadian business travellers (89%) expect increased discrimination in the wake of COVID-19, especially against travellers exhibiting cold or flu symptoms (59%), travellers from countries with high infection rates (43%)—and even travellers of Asian descent (43%).
  • More than 1 in 4 Canadian business travellers (27%) also believe there will be an increase in discrimination against the elderly, as well as those wearing enhanced personal protective equipment (26%).
  • Health and safety are now top priority for business travellers when on the road:
  • Health and safety have become the top priority for 2 in 5 (43%) Canadian business travellers which is more than three times as many who prioritize business needs (13%).
  • Safety was only the second priority last year, but the effects of COVID-19 have exacerbated the issue from 24% to 43%.
  • Top concerns about returning to business travel also include infecting their families (69%) and getting sick themselves (68%).

·       Companies need to update travel policies to help business travellers return to the road safely:

  • 93% of Canadian business travellers consider some measures critical for safely returning to the road, including:
    • Mandatory personal health screenings for travelling employees (40%), limiting travel to only the most critical trips (38%), real-time health and safety updates (34%), and easier access to personal protective equipment (28%).
  • More than 9 in 10 Canadian business travellers (92%) believe they’d benefit from company training, especially, trainings on how to protect their health and safety during travel (50%) and how to maintain healthy habits while travelling (50%).

The full global white paper and Canadian findings can be found here.

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