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Push for Sustainability in Business Travel

The corporate travel landscape is evolving with sustainability, vacation rentals, and integrated T&E policies. Adaptation and staying informed are key.

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As corporate travel continues to evolve, sustainability has become a focal point. Previous research from Skift’s report, "Vacation Rentals on Business Trips? Who Gets the Best Airline Seat?", has indicated that corporate travel has made few strides toward prioritizing sustainability. 

However, recent initiatives by companies and travel decision-makers show a growing commitment to sustainable travel practices. Here’s a closer look at the current trends and statistics:

Companies and Travel Decision Makers
  • Encouraging Sustainable Booking Options: 61% of companies encourage business travelers to opt for sustainable options when booking their trips.
  • Implementing a “Sustainability Tax”: A quarter of companies have introduced a “sustainability tax” internally charged to employees or departments based on their booking choices.
  • Promoting Rail Travel Globally: 42% of companies promote or require rail travel globally as an alternative to air travel, aiming to reduce carbon emissions and costs.
  • Mandating Rail Travel in Specific Countries: 58% of companies promote or mandate rail travel in specific countries.
Business Travelers
  • Global Rail Travel Encouragement: 53% of business travelers report that their company encourages or mandates global rail travel.
  • Regional Rail Travel Encouragement: 78% of business travelers say their company encourages or mandates regional rail travel.
Acceptance of Vacation Rentals
  • While vacation rentals can offer a cost-effective alternative to traditional hotels, some companies avoid them due to duty of care concerns, including employee safety. Despite these concerns, vacation rentals are gaining traction among both companies and employees.
  • Companies and Travel Decision Makers: 53% permit booking vacation rentals for business trips.
  • Business Travelers: 74% of business travelers say their companies allow booking vacation rentals for work trips, indicating some misalignment between traveler and decision-maker expectations.
Integrated and Honed T&E Policies and Procedures
  • There is a growing need for streamlined travel and expenses (T&E) policies, with a market for tools and products catering to these needs. Employees are vocal about their preferences for improvements in this area.
Business Travelers
  • Need for Improvement: Over 42% of business travelers believe their companies’ T&E policies need improvement.
  • Payment and Expense Integration: 54% want payment and expense integration to simplify the reimbursement process.
  • Accessibility of Policies: 66% say easy-to-find policies can help them follow T&E guidelines more effectively.
Who Gets the ‘Better’ Airplane Seat?
  • Companies have varying policies regarding airplane seating, particularly who gets the “good” seats, if anyone.
Companies and Travel Decision Makers
  • First Class Restrictions: 27% don’t allow first class for anyone, while 40% allow it for senior executives.
  • Basic Economy Restrictions: 15% bar basic economy for anyone.
Business Travelers
  • Upgrade Policies: 42% of business travelers say their companies allow employees to upgrade with points.
  • Policies Based on Flight Length: 26% to 36% report that their companies have policies granting better seats based on flight length.

The landscape of corporate travel is changing, with sustainability, vacation rentals, and integrated T&E policies becoming central themes. Companies and business travelers alike are adapting to new expectations and regulations, striving to make corporate travel more efficient, sustainable, and comfortable. As these trends continue to evolve, staying informed and adaptable will be key to navigating the future of business travel.

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