Some may be surprised to discover that the climate debate has a considerable impact on business travel. Two-thirds of the companies have adapted their travel policy as a result of the raised climate-related questions. The number of business trips will nevertheless increase this year.
At least 61 percent of the CEOs and top managers surveyed by AirPlus International are convinced that business travel will increase in intensity in 2020. One third expects the number of business trips to remain unchanged (36 percent), while only 3 percent forecast a decline. This is the result of a current AirPlus survey of more than 400 board members and managing directors from Germany, the USA, China, Italy, and France.
The most important reason for the further increase is cited by company managers as general sales growth or business expansion. Among those expecting more business trips, 94 percent cited this as one reason. 83 percent see an increasing importance of personal exchanges with customers, and the same number expect to expand into foreign markets.
Despite the expected increase, climate protection is playing an increasingly important role in business travel. Dealing with climate protection and sustainability is no longer simply a matter of pleasure for companies but has become an economic necessity. Of course, this is also and especially evident during business trips.
The number of trips and flights would probably be even higher without measures in this area: one-third of the companies have already restricted the number of trips for this reason, and a further 38 percent plan to do so. Four out of ten have replaced flights with train journeys or other less CO2-emitting means of transport, and another 41 percent are planning such a shift. Nevertheless, the airplane remains important for many trips: 81 percent of the respondents said they could not do without air travel.
Especially for long distances the airplane is and remains essential. Personal contact with customers, partners or colleagues cannot be completely replaced by video conferencing or the like. Four out of five respondents also consider such meetings indispensable for business.
The environmental protection is also becoming more important when it comes to travel itself: regardless of the means of transport, 40 percent of those surveyed plan to compensate for CO2 emissions caused by travel, and 36 percent have already implemented corresponding options.
For the survey on business travel development 2020, a total of 424 top managers were interviewed in Germany, USA, China, Italy, and France, including CEOs, finance and sales directors.