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What Does the Average Business Traveler Look Like?

By / Jul 19, 2017 (iStock/Thinkstock)

A new report from the Global Business Travel Association Foundation paints the economic picture of business travel and highlights current preferences and characteristics of road warriors.

Business travel maintained its dominance as an economic force last year, according to a new report from the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) Foundation.

The U.S. Business Travel Economic Impact Report, produced in partnership with American Express Global Business Travel, found that business travelers represented a full 3 percent of U.S. gross domestic product last year, or $547 billion in economic impact.

But beyond economics, the report tells interesting stories about business travelers in general. And some of its findings are surprising. Among them:

Staying domestic—and on the ground. Nearly all business trips taken by U.S. travelers (94 percent) are within the United States, often to destinations in high-population areas—the most popular being the Pacific region, the Northwest, and the Southeast. And travelers often go by car, not plane: 35 percent of travelers use a personal car or truck, versus 28 percent who fly, according to the report. “You look at the geography of the U.S., and you’ve got professionals across the major hubs and territory managers; the road trip comes into play if you need to travel two or three hours,” said David Reimer, American Express Global Business Travel’s senior vice president and general manager of the Americas, in comments to Skift.

Travelers still prefer taxis over Uber. Despite the surging popularity of ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft, only 6 percent of business travelers use them, versus 11 percent who use taxis.

Road warriors don’t travel for long. When business travelers make a trip away from home, it tends to be short. More than a quarter of all trips (26 percent) take only a single day, while 39 percent last one to two days, and 22 percent are between three and four days.

Travelers are well educated and have high incomes. About two-thirds of business travelers have a bachelor’s degree or above, and travelers earn an average household income of $82,000. Other demographic data points: Six of 10 business travelers are male, and about half of travelers are older than 45 and about half younger.

Check out the GBTA Foundation website to see more highlights from the report.

Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is the social media journalist for Associations Now, a former newspaper guy, and a man who is dangerous when armed with a good pun. More »

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