New GBTA Report Highlights Business Travel Bright Spots, Blemishes

Business Traveler Satisfaction

Business travelers have a lot to be happy about, and a few things worth being grumpy over, finds the first-ever GBTA Global Business Traveler Sentiment Index, published today by the GBTA Foundation, the education and research arm of the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA), in partnership with American Express.

"The Business Traveler Sentiment Index provides a snapshot of the attitudes and experiences of business travelers about what is working and what isn't when it comes to travel," said Susan Chapman-Hughes, senior vice president, American Express Global Corporate Payments. "This will help travel providers address areas of concern and help attract and retain loyalty from their customers."

Generally, GBTA reports, business travelers are satisfied with their trip experience. In the United States, Canada, and Australia, for instance, 73 percent of business travelers report being satisfied with their business trips. In Mexico and the United Kingdom, 81 percent and 75 percent of business travelers, respectively, said the same. While results were more moderate in Brazil and Germany (66 percent and 64 percent, respectively), only one surveyed country -- Japan (49 percent) -- reported a satisfaction rate of below 50 percent.

A major theme of the survey was technology. The majority of business travelers around the world, for instance, indicated that Wi-Fi connectivity is "vital to their work productivity" and that mobile apps have "enhanced their overall business travel experience."

"A massive technological transformation is changing the face of business travel," said GBTA Foundation Vice President Joseph Bates. "At the heart of this radical disruption is Wi-Fi, which has become the indispensible technology for travelers. Wi-Fi and mobile technologies allow travelers to stay connected whether in their hotel rooms, at the airport, or at 30,000 feet. This transformation will only accelerate, and business travelers will demand always-on connectivity and mobile applications that allow them to stay in touch 24/7."

Underscoring Wi-Fi's importance are the chief pain points identified by business travelers.

"While most travelers are significantly satisfied with their trip experience, a few areas have emerged as significant pain points," Bates continued. "This includes airline fees, getting through security, ensuring convenient flight schedules, rewards points that don't expire, and having adequate Wi-Fi connectivity."

Finally, GBTA measured overall business travel sentiment and found that business travelers around the world are typically pessimistic about their country's overall economy, but optimistic about the health of their specific industry and their specific company.

"Travelers are fairly confident in the financial performance of their companies. When asked whether their company is in excellent financial shape, a majority of travelers globally agree (55 percent or higher)," GBTA reported. "Similarly, a majority of travelers across countries (about 60 percent or more on average) … 'agree' or 'strongly agree' their company's management feels that business travel is very important to the overall financial performance of their company."

Check out the all-new MeetingNews Minute, featuring exclusive research on industry trends!