What Worries Business Travelers Most

Business travelers often feel unsafe, discriminated against, or put-upon when attempting to do their jobs on the road, a new SAP Concur study reveals.

When people take a business trip, it often pulls them out of their comfort zones.

But it can also come with risks, dangers, and frustrations that some higher-ups might not even be aware of. SAP Concur’s recent Business Traveler Report 2019 [registration], a study of 7,850 business travelers in 19 global markets, breaks down some of these frustrations and worries.

So what’s got your road warriors on edge? Here’s a list:

Generally feeling unsafe. The Concur report notes that nearly 3 in 5 survey respondents revealed they had changed their travel plans at some point because of safety concerns. Meanwhile, more than a third of younger travelers (42 percent), who tend to have their eye on current events, say they’re more likely to avoid traveling to a specific location out of concerns of political or health risks—a concern that 36 percent of Generation Xers and 23 percent of boomers share. How can employers help? By offering travel safety training, which 52 percent of survey respondents say they want.

Harassment and discrimination issues. Women and people in the LGBTQ community say they have big concerns on the road. More than three-quarters of women (77 percent) say they’ve run into harassment or mistreatment while traveling, with many facing issues of catcalling, being asked if they’re traveling with their husbands, or being ignored by service workers. And nearly all LGBTQ travelers surveyed (95 percent) say they’ve hidden their sexual orientation on a business trip, often for safety reasons, and 85 percent say they’ve changed their travel arrangements because of safety issues—a percentage far higher than for business travelers at large.

Stress and difficulty in traveling. Issues of identity or safety speak to larger cultural issues that go far beyond the business travel space, but employers can still do plenty to make business travel easier—including improving the business travel process overall. Two-thirds of survey respondents felt their companies lagged behind others in offering the latest technology for business travel. Expense reports were a particular pain point—24 percent of respondents said they’d rather have a cavity filled than fill out an expense report, and 43 percent noted they forfeited expenses in 2018 because of issues with their employers.

“Societal issues and employee experiences are increasingly impacting the way we travel,” SAP Concur Chief Product Strategy Officer Mike Koetting said in a news release. “With these shifts come new expectations from traveling employees that shouldn’t go unnoticed.”

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Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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