Face-to-face requests are 34 times higher than an email request (Harvard Company Review).

We, humans, are social creatures, no matter how virtual our lives may seem. No wonder the business travel industry is predicted by analysts, business travel managers, and business travelers themselves to expand.

We’ve compiled all business travel stats for 2019, from business travel patterns to market disruptors.

Business travel does not slow down and won’t in 2020


  • It is estimated that business travel will rise to $1.6 trillion in annual spending by 2020 (GBTA).
  • Between 2018 and 2019, business travel is expected to grow by 6% (Deloitte).
  • Travelers from the U.S. took 462 million business trips from abroad. Projected to increase this estimate to 499.4 million by 2022. (Statista)
  • The United Kingdom invested $50 billion in business travel (Statista)
  • There is a significant rise in business travel. 77 percent of travel managers in India, when surveyed in 2018, wanted their client to spend more on business travel in 2019. 25% of travel directors in Spain expressed the same opinion (Statista)
  • There is a growing proportion of female business travelers. 47% of business travelers in the United States are now women (CreditDonkey).
  • Business travel accounts for 22.2% of travel and tourism contributions to Europe’s GDP. Business travel in Western Europe rose 4% in 2017 relative to 2016 (Spendesk).

Unlike Switzerland, the US is increasingly expensive

  • In 2018, only two U.S. cities made the top 10 list of the world’s most expensive business travel cities, but four U.S. cities included the list in 2019. Los Angeles and San Francisco joined the top 10 list alongside Washington DC and New York in 2019. Worldwide, the other six cities are – Geneva, Zurich, Paris, London, Basel, and Switzerland Bern. The US and Switzerland are now in the top 10 list with four cities each. (International of the ECA).

Innovative technologists and unicorns travel differently

A different breed is our clients. Here are some of our own travel booking platform’s business travel figures

Disruptive devices, engineering, and developments

  • Between 2017 to 2018, the number of Airbnb bookings between tech companies tripled.
  • Non-chain hotels and low-cost air carriers favor Millennial business travelers working by tech companies. In 2018, 85% of airlines booked low-cost airlines.
  • Tech travelers split less than those in the consulting industry with company policy, 13 percent breaks in travel policy compared to 16 percent. Combine our tech innovators focused on confidence and openness in their corporate culture with the bent towards frugality of their passengers, and it’s no wonder that many of them are using no automated travel policies.
  • European tech companies have unique travel hubs: among their top destinations are Amsterdam, Stockholm, Brighton, Lisbon, and Copenhagen.

Why and how flying for business travelers

Although conferences and business activities are fun and exciting, for most business trips, they are not the top reason.

Many business travelers fly only once a year, and consumer visits are the main reason.


  • 30% Once a month, European business travelers ride. Once a year, 62 percent fly. 5 million flies 21 to 40 times a year.
  • 44% of European corporate travelers fly to a customer’s destination. 32% fly to visit another company’s office in another city.
  • Nutrition is the biggest expense for business travel. Meals make up 21% of business travel spending, while flights make up 17%. It makes sense (Certify) when you know that most business trips are short distances.
  • Private vehicles are used in the United States for 81% of business trips (US Department of Transportation)
  • Business travel in the community is more common than you might think. Fifty percent of European business trips are for two or more groups (Fly Aeolus).
  • Booking a direct flight is the number one factor affecting the flight European corporate business travel should book, with 26% choosing a direct connection as the most influential factor and 19% choosing cost, 23% choosing schedule convenience, and 20% choosing airport location (Fly Aeolus).

Trends in the business travel industry and affect

Self-booking is important for modern travelers within the company policy. And for the industry of modern times? The opportunity to calculate the ROI of business travel.

There is a way to calculate the travel ROI

  • For every dollar invested in business travel (Oxford Economics), companies spend $12.50 in annual revenue.
  • If business travel was suddenly cut off (Oxford Economics), an estimated 28 percent of current business would be lost.
  • Nonetheless, the level of trip success and trip ROI (ACTE) are consistently calculated by only 13 percent of corporate travel managers.

Travel management metrics need improving

  • 81% of travel managers calculate reservation statistics such as advance bookings, hotel accommodation and booking issues (ACTE).
  • Eighty percent of corporate travel managers believe a generic measurement device would have a positive effect on corporate travel (ACTE).
  • Travel interaction is assessed by only 37 percent of travel managers (how often travelers communicate with the TMC or in-house travel manager) (ACTE).
  • Ninety-four percent of business travel industry managers depend on a reporting agency (ACTE) or TMC.
  • As part of their compilation and tracking of travel planning metrics, only 61 percent of corporate travel managers use traveler surveys. Surveys help to obtain traveler satisfaction and effective trip data (ACTE).

Self-reservation and mobile reservations are rising

  • 59 percent of US business travelers often book their hotel on their own and 30 percent usually book their hotel on their own (Statista)
  • In another study, 69 percent of business travelers say that they book travel on their own regardless of the type of booking (Skift)
  • While mobile bookings still reign supreme, 79 percent of business travelers booked on their mob.
  • Business travelers love to live chat. 79% of travel industry businesses saw an increase in revenue when they provided live chat. (LCT)

The happiness and worries of the traveler

The key to a successful corporate travel plan is traveler satisfaction. Take a look at these polls of business travelers ‘ concerns and wishes. And don’t forget to set up for your road warriors your own internal surveys.

What will travelers do?

  • During most of their business trips, 80 percent of regular business travelers feel they deserve time for fun activities. And happily, 79 percent of them think their boss (NationalCar) is in agreement.
  • Eighty-six percent of business travelers believe they know how to manage their personal lives efficiently away from home (NationalCar).
  • 61% of travel managers have a travel experience measurement system (ACTE) in place.

What worries business travelers?

  • Flight delays are the top concern for business travelers in the United States. The notorious middle seat (Statista) is the second issue.
  • European corporate travelers list the most tiring aspects of business travel like this: 27% say waiting time is the most tiring while 25% say no direct flights, 22% say commuting to and from the airport, 16% say too early departures or too late arrivals and 10% say flying itself (Fly Aeolus).
  • The number one way the traveler experience can be improved? 35 percent of European business travelers say that the number one thing they wish they could change is having to spend less time at the airport. 23% Want to spend less time commuting to the airport. 26% need better direct flight availability and the remaining 16% want more flexibility for their schedule requirements (Fly Aeolus).

Millennial figures on business travel

Gen Z figures are making headlines these days, but millennials are still the most important generation to recognize when it comes to business travel. We make up most of the world’s business travelers.

Millennials are the most traveling company

  • Millennials take an average of 7.4 trips per year (Skift)
  • Baby boomers take an average of 6.3 trips per year (Skift)
  • 75% of millennial business travelers feel that it is a luxury (Hilton Hotels & Reports Survey)
  • 65% of millennial business travelers see it as a status symbol (Hilton Hotels & Reports Survey)

Many millennials are pleased with their ability to book themselves … but are they using sites approved by the company?

  • 72% of millennial business travelers are pleased with their ability to book business travel on the Statista website.
  • Bookings for hotels are particularly fragmented. Twenty-eight percent of business travelers book hotels directly on the hotel website. 10% Book hotels like Expedia through an OTA. 7% Book with a third party reseller such as Kayak. Book with a travel agent for 14 cents. (Skift)

Are you still concerned with travelers on customer websites booking business trips? Reach out to WOTRA for more information on corporate travel.

Millennials value free time and leisure when traveling on business

  • 43% of millennials have prolonged their business trip for pleasure (Statista)
  • 78% of millennials have deliberately completed their business trip (Forbes)
  • 57% of businesses have a policy in place for workers who want to prolong their business trip with vacation time (Forbes)
  • Millennial men, 41 percent versus 20 percent (NationalCar), are twice as likely to say they should avoid having fun on a business trip.
  • Read more on the so-called bleisure in our article.

Company and data on leisure travel

Question: What is the difference these days between the company and pleasure? Answer: Who pays.

  • Breakfast travel increased 20 percent from 2016 to 2017 (Forbes)
  • More than 40 percent of business trips are extended for leisure purposes (Expedia)
  • Breakfast travelers are typically regular business travelers: 32 percent of bleisure travelers travel for work once or twice a month (Expedia)
  • Business trips are the most likely to become bleisure trips to meetings or conventions. 43% of trips for these types of events will turn into bleisure trips, while 24% of trips for off-site team meetings and 9% of marketing trips will turn into bleisure trips. (Expedia)
  • Why are business trips turning into unpleasant journeys? 66 percent of bleisure travelers claim this because they like and want to visit the destination. Based on the proximity of the weekend, 51 percent said they convert business trips into bleisure trips. (Expedia)

The percentage of business travel expenditure versus leisure travel expenditure continues to increase

  • The proportion of expenditure on business travel is rising by about.05 percent each year. Business travel accounted for 30% of all travel spending in the U.S. (Statista) in 2017, the most recent year available.
  • Although business travelers typically make up only 12% of all flyers, airlines are twice as profitable because they are loyal and use frequent flyer services, purchase facilities such as extra legroom, and also book more flights with less notice (Investopedia).

The purpose of the trip does not affect first-class travel

  • 19% of U.S. passengers board a first-class leisure flight in one year, while 20% of U.S. passengers board a first-class business flight in one year (Statista and Statista)

Rogue reservations

On the market, there are new innovative technologies that can make out-of-policy reservations a thing of the past.

Comply with business travelers?

  • 60% of companies have a corporate travel policy in place and 50% of businesses require travelers to book using any form they choose (lodging).
  • Hotels are most often booked outside the network that has been licensed. On web pages, 46 percent of business travelers booked hotels because they found a better value (lodging).
  • Fifty percent of business travelers claim they don’t always follow company policy in another study. The main reasons why this is comfort (37%) and cost (35%) (Amadeus).
  • 60% The justification for having a company travel plan and the benefits of having one (Amadeus) is not fully understood by business travelers.

Reach out to Your consultant at WOTRA TRAVEL to take advantage of the 2020 ready corporate travel program.