Between new expense platforms and mobile technologies, the face of business travel is rapidly changing. Based on recent travel trends, six types of business travelers and their spending habits have been identified in a study released today by Concur, a provider of integrated travel and expense management solutions. With business travel being one of the most controllable expenses, companies can take a look at the way employees spend to design better travel policies.
Each of the six personas described in the 2016 State of Business Travel report was compiled from focus groups, third-party research and Concur’s database of transactions representing more than $76 billion in annual spend. Corresponding data from travel and expense frequency revealed patterns among employees at different levels within an organization.
“Concur’s State of Business Travel report transforms data from endless pages of dull numbers into relatable and understandable characters,” said Henry Harteveldt, founder and industry analyst at Atmosphere Research Group, which contributed to the report. “The personas make planning and administering business travel programs easier, more accessible, more relatable, and more useful for travel managers and financial decision makers.”
The Spending Habits of Six Types of Business Travelers:
1. Savvy Sam is a frequent flyer who travels 40 percent of the time, taking approximately 25 trips in a year. Sam files 20 reports for 15-30 trips, spending around $30,000 a year.
“Business travel is an annoying but necessary part of my job. I file expenses on a per-trip basis.”
2. Jet Setter Jeremy is a C-suite executive who travels often and prefers to fly first-class and stay at upscale hotels. On average, Jeremy spends $45,000 per year for 15-25 trips, and files 25 reports.
“Business travel must be as comfortable as being at home. My assistant files my expenses.”
3. High-Tech Hannah is a millennial who travels once a quarter and may combine personal and business travel, while remaining budget conscious. Hannah takes three to seven yearly trips and files 10 expense reports. Her spending is much less at $10,000 a year.
“Business travel is great for mini-vacations. Expensing is a hassle. I put it off till the deadline.”
4. Approving Manager Alan travels infrequently but is responsible for reviewing travel and expense reports. He aims to keep budgets in line. Alan files 20 reports, but takes up to two trips a year himself and spends about $15,000 each year.
“Travel is a costly but necessary part of the job. I have to file expenses once or twice a month.”
5. Travel Arranger Tanya books trips for other staff members and files expense reports on their behalf several times a week. Tanya takes up to one trip each year at the cost of $15,000. She files five reports for other employees.
“I’m skilled at arranging travel and handling emergencies. My travelers just hand me receipts.”
6. Cautious Carl travels only once or twice a year for business purposes. He plans well in advance, and isn’t the most familiar with policies and processes. Carl spends around $2,000 for up to two trips annually. He files less than five reports in a year.
“Travel is more of an annoyance than a perk. I file my expenses as soon as possible.”
Findings from the report can be adapted according to the percentage of employees who may fit in each category. For example, more than half of all business travelers in the study qualified as “Cautious Carls,” but they accounted for only 14 percent of total business travel expenses.
Millennials and careful spenders are more cost-conscious than other travelers, while frequent flyers who make up 46 percent of total business travel spend are more concerned with comfort and convenience. In fact, “Jet-Setter Jeremys” consistently spend the most, because they are more likely to book trips at the last minute and choose premium seats.