42 Business Travel Statistics That Will Inspire You to Hit the Road

ByDanica Jovic
January 11,2021

People enjoy traveling. Indeed, they like it so much that most don’t care if they need to send a few emails, attend meetings, or listen to seminars during their trip. Work hard, play hard - that’s the motto of business travelers, who are happy to endure a morning full of meetings if it means they can spend the afternoon sipping margaritas in the sun.

Business travel statistics show that about 30% of job seekers are ready to accept lower-paid jobs if they include business trips. Companies are aware that employees enjoy these “bleisure” trips, and are in many cases willing to make them more comfortable with a lot of money for travel spending, accommodation, meals, and transportation. We’ve compiled the following stats and facts to show just how popular business travel has become.

Editor’s Choice: Business Travel Statistics

  • Global business travel statistics from 2017 show that during that year, $1.33 trillion was spent on business travel worldwide.
  • Globally, annual business travel costs are expected to amount to $1.7 trillion by 2022.
  • According to the Global Business Travel Association, 1.3 million business trips are taken in the US every day.
  • Almost 10% of business trips can be categorized as “bleisure” trips.
  • Although business travel is on the rise, only 60% of companies actually have a corporate travel policy.

General Business Travel Statistics

Even though we live in a telecommunication-dominated era, face-to-face business meetings are still essential for building stable and continuous relationships with clients. No matter how easy it is for workers to make a conference call, communicate with colleagues via Skype, or attend a webinar from the comfort of your own office, companies still organize business trips for employees. In fact, the business travel economy has grown rapidly since the Great Recession, with spending reaching $1.6. trillion in 2020.

The latest US business travel statistics show that US travelers took over 463 million business trips inside the US in 2018.

(Statista)

While business travelers account for only 12% of flight tickets, they generate roughly twice as much money per person for airlines as non-business customers.

(Investopedia)

Global business travel statistics from 2017 show that $1.33 trillion was spent on business travel worldwide during that calendar year.

(Global Business Travel Association)

Annual global business travel costs are set to rise to $1.7 trillion by 2022, according to what was then the National Business Travel Association.

(Global Business Travel Association)

Two-thirds of business travelers believe it’s difficult to build a working relationship via video calls.

(Skift and TripActions)

Global Business Travel Statistics

International business travel statistics show that the US and China are the global leaders when it comes to business travel spending, followed by India, Indonesia, and Sweden. You probably won’t be surprised to learn that the most expensive cities for taking business trips are New York and the two largest Swiss cities: Zurich and Geneva. However, while most countries are spending more on business travel, the UK is going backward; there was a 3% decline in outbound business trips in 2018 due to concerns about Brexit.

China has the largest business travel market, with total spending amounting to $346.5 billion in 2017.

(Global Business Travel Association)

India (11.3%) and Indonesia (8.7%) are the two countries with the fastest-growing business travel markets.

(Global Business Travel Association)

New York City is the most expensive city for business travel, with daily costs adding up to ($799), followed by Geneva, ($716 per day), Zurich ($661 per day), Washington DC ($621 per day), and Paris ($617 per day).

(ECA International)

Hong Kong remains the most expensive city in Asia for business travel, with an average daily cost of $515.

(ECA International)

In total, more than $50 billion was spent on business travel in the UK in 2017.

(Statista)

From 2017 to 2018, there was a 3% decline in outbound business trips from the UK. In fact, since 2016, the outbound traffic rate has dropped steadily due to concerns about Brexit.

(Deloitte)

American Travel Statistics for Business

American companies understand the importance of investing in business travel. Whether for meetings, educational events, or conferences, Americans spend a lot of time and money on both personal and group business trips.

This spending is particularly heavy on the west coast. Indeed, the annual number of inbound business trips to the west is 7.5 million higher than those heading from the west to other parts of the country.

According to the Global Business Travel Association, 1.3 million business trips are taken in the US every day.

(Global Business Travel Association)

By 2022, there will be nearly 500 million business trips per year within the US.

(Statista)

In the US, nearly $328 billion was spent on international and domestic business trips in 2018.

(US Travel Association)

Predictions suggest that North America will lose 1% of global business travel market share by 2022.

(Global Business Travel Association)

There are about 64 million inter-regional trips in the US every year, statistics about traveling show.

(US Department of Transportation)

(US Department of Transportation)

26% of all business trips are one day long, according to international travel statistics.

(Associations Now)

Business Traveler Demographics

If you’re wondering who makes these trips, the answer is not as straightforward as you might think. Men aged between 30 and 49 form the majority of the business travel population, but the number of women who travel for business is growing rapidly.

Travelers are growing up quickly too; 40% of millennials now travel for work, and many choose jobs specifically because of the opportunity to travel. Most millennials who travel extend their business trips to visit other cities.

According to Bureau of Transportation statistics, 77% of people traveling for work are men.

(US Department of Transportation)

Although some sites claim that 47% of business travelers are women, according to the American Travel Bureau, the actual proportion of women travelers is just 23%.

(US Department of Transportation)

More than half of all business trips are taken by people aged 30 to 49.

(US Department of Transportation)

Millennial Business Travelers - Stats and Facts

Millennials have now reached the age when they’re starting to rise to important positions in the workplace. They’re also known for valuing work-life balance perhaps more than any previous generation. That’s why it’s no surprise that millennials are strongly represented in business travel statistics.

Nearly 40% of millennials travel for business.

(American Express)

Nearly two-thirds of young workers and millennials see business trips as a status symbol.

(Hilton Hotels & Resorts)

Travelers aged 18 to 29 take 16% of all business trips.

(US Department of Transportation)

55% of millennials prefer to prolong their business trips in order to have more time to experience new places and learn new things.

(American Express)

Business Travel Costs

Business travel isn’t cheap. Indeed, when you take into account transportation, accommodations, food, and attendance at seminars, the costs add up. And most companies don’t choose cheap travel options. Companies spend a lot of money on business trips in order to provide the best experience to their employees.

The average cost of business travel per day in the US is $325.

(Business Travel News)

On the average business trip, companies spend $1,217 for international round-trip tickets and $470 on domestic business tickets.

(JTB Business Travel)

For every trip, US businesses spend nearly $950 per traveler who travels inside the US, while the average cost for an international business trip is $2,600 per person.

(Certify)

US businesses spend $31.6 billion on international travel every year.

(Certify)

Typically, companies’ business traveling budgets are distributed like this: meals (21%), flights (17%), miscellaneous expenses (17%), and accommodation (13%).

(Certify)

5% of total business travel costs go toward cell phones, while only 3% are spent on taxi services.

(Certify)

If you’re organizing a business trip to New York, you should budget $145 for three meals a day. However, in Nashville, you’ll need to budget only $76.50.

(Business Travel News)

Business Travel Transportation Facts

You might be surprised to learn that most of America’s business trips are made by car. Americans prefer to travel in their private vehicles when possible.

About 405 million long-distance business trips are made each year in America, according to US travel statistics.

(US Department of Transportation)

81% of all business trips are taken by car, while 16% are taken by plane.

(US Department of Transportation)

Distance plays an important role in determining which mode of transport should be used; 97% of short trips (50 to 90 miles) are taken by vehicle.

(US Department of Transportation)

The world’s most expensive travel lounges are in these airports: Dubai ($329/person), London City ($157/person), and London Heathrow ($67/person).

(FairFX)

Bleisure Travel Statistics

Work hard, play hard - this is the philosophy many business travelers now live by. “Bleisure” is a portmanteau that means exactly what you think it means: corporate trips that consist of both business and leisure. Just ask freelancers or remote workers, many of whom have taken bleisure to be their new lifestyle. The average corporate traveler in the USA lives the bleisure lifestyle by extending business trips so they can visit new cities and interact with different cultures.

Almost 10% of business trips can be categorized as bleisure trips.

(Forbes)

Nearly 60% of businesses support bleisure trips by encouraging employees to extend their business trips.

(Forbes)

Nearly 50% of business travelers extend their trips to visit other countries or cities.

(Booking.com)

More Business Travel Statistics and Facts

Nowadays, people are willing to take lower-paid jobs if they include business trips as a perk. While some companies don’t support “shared economy services” like Airbnb and Uber, statistics show that most American business travellers prefer these types of services.

Traveling for work is the main reason about 30% of people would choose a lower-paying job.

(Booking.com)

Although business travel is on the rise, only 60% of companies actually have a corporate travel policy.

(Finance Online)

40% of business travelers don’t follow their companies’ travel policies. Instead, they make their hotel reservations on their own.

(Skift and Turkish Airlines)

15% of total Airbnb bookings come from business travelers.

(Skift and Turkish Airlines)

 

Frequently Asked Questions
What percent of travel is for business?

Business trips make up about 12% of total air travel. However, thanks to business class fares, they typically generate twice as much money for airlines as regular trips.

How many people travel business each year?

According to US statistics on traveling, 405 million long-distance business trips are taken each year.

What businesses travel the most?

With younger generations - especially millennials - looking for more dynamic jobs, more and more companies are ready to organize regular business trips for their employees. In general, sales representatives, consultants, and travel agents tend to travel most often. Professions like programming and accounting are typically thought of as desk jobs, but nowadays even those workers are getting the chance to attend trips and conferences.

What age group travels the most?

People between 30 and 49 travel the most for business, and most of those travelers are men. However, the number of women of all ages traveling for business is increasing. About 40% of millennials travel for business.

How long is the average business trip?

Business trips are typically quite short. On average, 26% of business trips are only one day long. Of course, many people like to combine business and leisure by extending their business to visit other places, according to the latest business travel statistics.

Sources

About the author

Danica’s greatest passion is writing. From small businesses, tech, and digital marketing, to academic folklore analysis, movie reviews, and anthropology — she’s done it all. A literature major with a passion for business, software, and fun new gadgets, she has turned her writing craft into a profitable blogging business. When she’s not writing for SmallBizGenius, Danica enjoys hiking, trying to perfect her burger-making skills, and dreaming about vacations in Greece.

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