The image of the average business traveller that travel companies promote their services to has been roundly dispelled in a survey of nearly 700 people travelling abroad on business. For the best part of a decade, glossy ads or slick TV commercials have shown the business traveller deplaning with briefcase in hand, ready to step into a luxury rented saloon after getting his luggage collected by a helpful porter. After a generous tip, he drives away to his luxury hotel ready for his appointments after a day or so acclimatisation.
In truth, according to the survey, you’d hardly recognise the business traveller, male or female, who will travel in civvies and fight their way through the crowds at the baggage carousel before finding cheap public transport - rarely even a taxi, to their basic accommodation, often at the home of the client they’re meeting.
Over half now book a hotel close to their meetings so they can walk to them whilst just less than that amount always use public transport, finding hotels that are also on the transport network or close by.
A growing number try to get their hosts to accommodate them, citing the chance to get better acquainted, especially if it’s a follow up meeting. They’ll also try to get the person they’re meeting to arrange a pick up at the airport.
The biggest concern for business travellers, cited by 65% of them, is personal safety and most like their employer to make security arrangements or at least ensure that they are put up in a safe neighbourhood.
Others worry about the diet they can expect whilst away but few are concerned about maintaining an exercise programme.
Most enjoy business travel with 85% saying it expands their horizons, gives them an insight into clients and is seen as a perk or bonus of their job. Those that don’t like it criticize delays and anti-social hours which often include weekends, saying they don’t like being away from family. The most used airports for business travellers are Chicago
O’Hare, second only to London’s Heathrow Airport
which has held top spot for over 10 years, followed by Frankfurt Airport
in third, Amsterdam’s Schiphol
in fourth and Canada’s Toronto Airport
The Global Business Travel Association, which carried out the survey, say that it shows that suppliers of travel essentials need to be more aware of the business world’s changing needs if they are to profit from business travel.