A survey has revealed that Gen Zs and millennials are more keen to travel on business travel during the pandemic than older generations. Jenny Southan reports

In June, Emburse – a global leader in expense management and accounts payable automation – announced the findings of a recent YouGov survey that assessed current attitudes towards business travel.

The survey in May 2021 of 1,202 prospective business travellers found that 70 per cent of respondents agreed travelling for work and conducting in-person meetings helps strengthen business relationships. This appeared to be the consensus regardless of age or gender across those surveyed.

However, there was a difference in attitude when it came to how different generations felt about travelling for work during the pandemic.

Younger people aged 18-34 were most keen to escape the house for business travel (52%), compared to only 38% of those aged 55-plus, suggesting they are less risk averse when it comes to Covid. What is ironic is that Gen Z will be some of the last to recieve the vaccine, which will make international travel more challenging.

Overall, almost half (45 per cent) of respondents of all ages said that if offered the opportunity to travel on business, they would look forward to a break away from their household.

Four in ten (43 per cent) of married respondents said they were excited to escape the house on a business trip.

Similarly, half (47 per cent) of respondents with children said they would travel for work in order to get a break from their family.

More children equated to a greater desire to go on a business trip. They survey showed that 46 per cent of respondents with one child were keen to get away, compared with 49 per cent with two kids, and 54 per cent with three or more children.

What would people be looking forward to the most when it comes to business trips? 37 per cent of respondents said it would be staying in nice hotels. Only 6 per cent were excited about expensing rounds of drinks for their colleagues.

Meanwhile, 26 per cent of people surveyed said they would be most looking forward to exploring new places. 22 per cent would be most looking forward to meeting colleagues and clients in person again, and 18 per cent said having a change of work location would be most appealing.

What is the future of intra-pandemic business travel?

Many people are keen to travel for business again because they seek a form of escapism from their homes and everyday routines, especially those professionals with children.

Even though trips would be for work, business travellers are keen to socialise again – especially young people, who are more likely to be stuck in cramped house/flatshares, particularly in London.

Beyond the usual reasons for travelling, the opportunity to connect with colleagues and customers overseas is still a crucial part of business despite the success of virtual meetings.

Kenny Eon, general manager and senior vice-president EMEA at Emburse, said: “It’s great to see people are still feeling positive about business travel and recognise its value in a work setting, with workers keen to reconnect in person with colleagues. Beyond the usual reasons for travelling, the data reflects a workforce looking to escape and see new sights, which is to be expected following this period of extended isolation.

“As nations find their feet again, it’s crucial that people are given the opportunity to create meaningful relationships again, both for business and leisure purposes. Successes in virtual meetings can’t be overlooked, but the value of broadening one’s horizons is still firmly on the business agenda. Firms must prepare themselves logistically for the return of expenses and travel management as it’s certainly coming back into focus.”

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