June 04, 2024

Survey: Slow Growth in Reported U.S. Business Travel


Business travel is returning, but at a slow and steady pace, led by younger workers, and with an eye toward sustainability, according to Morning Consult's latest report.

About 10 percent of adult respondents said in March 2024 they traveled domestically for business in the prior month, compared with 7 percent who said so in March 2022.

Millennials continue to make up the lion's share of adults who expect to travel for work in the next 12 months (34 percent), but Gen Z adults increasingly are catching up (33 percent). About 23 percent of Gen Xers said they'd be on the road for business in the next year, and though just 13 percent of Baby Boomers said they would travel for work, that number has remained consistent since Morning Consult began tracking this data in 2021, as this generation is "delaying retirement due to financial concerns," according to the report.

More than half (51 percent) of respondents said they book their business travel on their own on the platform of their choice. This compares with 28 percent who said they book on their own on a platform mandated by their company. Twenty-one percent have someone else at their company make their bookings, which was down 4 percentage points from 2022, according to Morning Consult.

A growing number of business travelers indicated a desire to travel less, with that figure doubling from 2022 to 14 percent in 2024. Additionally, 24 percent of respondents in 2024 said they wish they could travel more compared with 29 percent in 2022. Millennials and Gen Z were the generations that most frequently wished they could travel for business less, at 20 percent and 17 percent, respectively.

"Creating seamless traveling experiences, rewarding travelers for loyalty and perhaps even making it easier for [travelers] to bring their loved ones on blended trips may make the overall experience more positive," according to the report.

Hotel stays are the most common of business travel bookings (44 percent), compared with domestic air travel at 29 percent. Intended hotel-chain usage in the next three months dropped to 44 percent in March 2024 compared with 59 percent in January 2022. The intended use of independent hotels also dropped, to 17 percent from 26 percent for the same period.

The seven reasons listed for business travel all show that more respondents plan to attend these types of events less frequently in the next year they did in the previous year. The category with the largest drop was trade shows, with 42 percent less likely to attend one in the coming year than in the past year, and with only 12 percent saying they would attend more.

Incentive travel, company retreats, external or client meetings, conference or seminar, training and development, and internal meetings all came in with 34 percent to 39 percent of respondents indicating they would attend fewer. Those indicating they would attend more were mostly in the mid- to upper-teen percentages, with training and development showing the largest figure at 19 percent, followed by external and client meetings at 18 percent.

Still, of those participating in a work travel event, most will attend a conference or seminar (67 percent), followed by internal company meetings and external or client meetings each at 66 percent. One notable change from the last survey in late 2022 was that the share who said they'll go to one or two conferences or seminars is down 6 percentage points, but those who plan to attend three or more increased by 9 percentage points, according to the report.

Sustainability considerations among business travelers is on the rise, according to the report. The share of business travelers who say they are willing to make lifestyle changes to benefit the environment was 78 percent in March 2024 compared with 70 percent in March 2021. The percentage of leisure travelers willing to do the same has remained flat at 75 percent.

The report included an online survey fielded April 27-28, 2024, among 2,201 U.S. adults, as well at Morning Consult's travel and hospitality tracker fielded from October 2021to April 2024 among about 2,200 U.S. adults per month.

Copyright 2024 Northstar Travel Media LLC. All rights reserved. From https://www.businesstravelnews.com.

To view all articles, check out the Internet Travel Monitor Archive

PLAY VIDEO
Play Video