Europe’s ahead of North America on business travel: Uniglobe survey

VANCOUVER — New survey results from Uniglobe Travel’s corporate clients indicate that companies in Europe are almost twice as likely as those in North America to have employees travelling now, or expect to have travel within three months.

While only about one-third (32%) of North American companies say they have employees currently travelling, will do so within a month, or within two to three months, 61% of European companies say the same.

Uniglobe Travel conducted the survey over 10 days last month (June 15-25), asking travel managers and decision makers from corporate accounts to answer 14 questions about how their travel policy was changing to reflect the COVID-19 travel environment, as well as their timing and expectations about the resumption of travel.

The survey also showed that 56% of European companies have already made travel policy changes, compared with 41% of North American companies. A majority of companies said they had limited or banned travel for internal meetings (64.1%), followed by limiting participation at meetings or conferences based on attendee numbers or places of origin (54.1%).

Martin Charlwood, President and COO for Uniglobe Travel International, says the least popular policy changes are those that impact traveller rights and privacy – such as requiring travellers to sign liability waivers, use a tracking app or restricting their personal activities including staying with friends and family during a business trip. “Looking at the travel policy changes, there is a discernable traveller-centric approach,” says Charlwood.

Meanwhile, amid the pandemic, environment and sustainability concerns are still key. “As companies have increasingly been prioritizing sustainability within travel programs, we know that balancing sustainability with physical distancing can be problematic,” says Andrew Henry, VP US Operations for Uniglobe Travel International. “Many forms of environmentally friendly travel – such as shared transport – are less popular or viable at this time. However, it was encouraging to see that amongst companies that had sustainability elements in their pre-COVID-19 travel policy, well over half of those expect the sustainability policies to be strengthened or enhanced in the next 18 months.”

Complete results from the survey can be seen here.

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