You may have thought the global pandemic ended the need for business travel.
It’s certainly true that a great deal of meetings were conducted virtually.
However, as the pandemic passed and travel restrictions were lifted, it was quickly clear that face-to-face meetings are still an essential part of running a business.
As the following business travel statistics demonstrate, thousands of miles are covered annually by people acting on behalf of their business.
- In the US there are 460 million business travelers per year
- 75% of air travel is business related!
- 60% of business trips become personal trips
- Business travel accounts for 3% of US GDP
- 40% of hotel guests are business travelers
- The average business trip lasts three days
- 38% of business trips are for events
- Lodgings account for 34% of business travel expenses
- 50% of business travelers are aged between 35-54
- The average business traveler takes 7 trips a year
- 47% of business travelers are female
- The average expenses report takes 38 minutes to complete
- Just 16% of business travel is completed by plane
- 90.6% of management feel travel is essential for the company brand and growth
- 73.2% of business travelers are concerned about delayed flights
- 54% of business travelers rate real time notification as the most valuable travel option
- 75% of business trips are shorter than 250 miles
- 83% of employees see business travel as a job perk
Top Business Travel Statistics in 2024
1. In The US There Are 460 Million Business Travelers Per Year
The US is a big country with approximately 330 million people living within its borders.
That’s what makes this statistic even more impressive.
According to the latest research, 460 million business trips were taken during 2022.
That’s 460 million people traveling somewhere for business.
This rate has been static for many years.
In 2016 there were 455 million, 2017 saw 456 million, and 2018 saw 459 million.
The highest recorded level of business travelers was in 2019 with 464 million.
The pandemic and lockdowns then hit, meaning that business traveler numbers dropped to 185 million in 2020.
They recovered a little in 2021, reaching 229 million business travelers.
As the statistics show, 2022 saw it return to pre-pandemic heights, confirming business travel remains important.
2. 75% Of Air Travel Is Business Related!
According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics 853 million people were carried on US airlines during 2022.
According to the statistics around 700 million of these people were on internal flights.
That means nearly 75% of passengers were traveling for business reasons.
This agrees with an independent survey conducted by Zuppia which found 75% of air travel is business-related.
The slight discrepancy is likely to be due to people going for business and pleasure.
Of course, the exact percentage of business travelers and, therefore airline revenue, will vary between airlines.
What is clear is that business travel should be an important consideration for any airline marketing executive.
It should be noted that business travelers often travel first class.
Businesses are increasingly interested in providing the best possible experience, including comfort and convenience, rather than choose the cheapest option.
3. Business Travel Accounts For 3% Of US GDP
With roughly 75% of airline revenue being generated from business customers it’s not surprising that business travel has an effect on the US GDP.
According to the latest reports, the revenue raised by business travel is in the region of $547 billion each year.
It was obviously lower during the pandemic.
That level of revenue means that business travel contributes 3% of the GDP in the US.
It’s no wonder that governments aren’t in a rush to eliminate business travel, even if it has a negative effect on the environment.
The figure is based on the revenue earned pre-pandemic.
While traveler numbers have returned it’s not yet clear whether the revenue level will remain the same or if this is the maximum business travel ever contributes to GDP.
4. 40% Of Hotel Guests Are Business Travelers
Whether you’re traveling by rail, road, or plane, undertaking a business trip means you’re highly likely to stay away from home for at least one night.
That means you’ll need a hotel.
It’s the preferred option for business travelers as hotels are predictable and have an array of services.
That’s not always the case for hostels or other accommodation providers.
What’s impressive is that, thanks to the sheer number of people traveling on business, the average hotel sees 40% of its guests are there on business.
Interestingly, surveys show that while less than half of guests are business, they make up nearly 60% of hotel revenue.
Again, this is because business travelers are happy to pay the extra in order to get the best possible service.
It’s also helped by the fact that 56% of business guests are employed in managerial or professional positions.
The average salary of someone in these positions is $127,000 per year.
In other words, they can afford the extras offered by the hotel.
5. The Average Business Trip Lasts Three Days
Business trips are extremely common across the US, but how long does the average trip last?
According to the latest reports, the average domestic trip will last three days.
That means two nights in a hotel, two days traveling, and the remaining time for business meetings, events, and other appointments.
Interestingly, international business trips generally take longer.
The average time for this type of trip is five or six days.
This is a slightly lower figure than in 2016 when it was six to seven days.
The trend has been for shorter trips.
However, that’s still plenty of time to take care of business and a little time exploring their destination.
Amazingly, some businesses are still more concerned about time lost.
As many as 26% if business trips last just one day.
This reduces the cost of hotels and food but can result in much higher airfares.
6. 38% Of Business Trips Are For Events
Traveling for business can mean many different things.
It could be a regional sales manager traveling between branches of a store.
Or, an executive visiting different branches across the country.
Business travel includes meetings, training, exhibitions, or a variety of other events.
However, according to the latest survey, as much as 38% of business travel is for meetings and events.
Impressively, this 38% of business travel accounts for 42% of business travel spending.
That’s approximately $139 billion.
That figure sounds less impressive when you consider that roughly 1.3 million business trips happen every day.
This number is likely to increase as the industry continues to recover from the global pandemic.
7. Lodgings Account For 34% Of Business Travel Expenses
Most people assume that the cost of flying is the largest expense of any trip.
However, it’s not!
Surprisingly, lodgings take up a bigger proportion of business travel budgets.
According to the latest statistics, lodgings account for 34% of all business travel expenses.
In contrast, airfares take up just 27% of business travel budgets.
Meals account for 20% of the budget and car rental accounts for the other 19%.
The survey found that businesses tend to invest heavily in premium services for business travel.
It’s not just a matter of comfort and convenience.
Businesses tend to associate reliability with higher prices and are prepared to pay them.
According to the latest research, the average 3-day domestic business trip will cost a company as much as $1,293.
In other words, there needs to be a good reason for the trip.
8. 50% Of Business Travelers Are Aged Between 35-54
It’s interesting to note that approximately 65% of businesses don’t undertake any form of business travel.
These businesses are generally too small to justify the costs against potential rewards.
Naturally, this affects the figures and is likely why 50% of business travelers are aged between 35-54.
This age bracket corresponds with people in middle management positions, or higher, who are generally older and higher earners.
A further 30% of business travelers are older than 55.
This is the age bracket likely to spend the most as it is generally the managers and owners of businesses.
Just 20% of business trips are undertaken by those under 35 years of age.
9. The Average Business Traveler Takes 7 Trips A Year
Business trips are generally seen as an essential part of marketing the business, keeping it up to date with the latest tech, or simply ensuring staff have the tools and materials they need to complete any job productively.
While business trips are expensive, they are essential, but in most businesses, there are just a few people who get to experience them.
Those that do will go on an average of 7 business trips a year.
The average is slightly higher for Millennials.
The younger end of the 35-54 age range tends to take more trips than the older end of the range.
However, this number is lower than it used to be, suggesting businesses are a little more reluctant to sign off on business trips.
In short, the trip must be shown to be worthwhile and companies will want to see the results.
10. 47% Of Business Travelers Are Female
An encouraging sign of equality in business comes from the percentage of business travel undertaken by females.
According to the latest reports, 47% of business travelers are female, 52% are male, and 1% prefer not to say.
Interestingly, women generally have a more positive experience on business trips.
The research shows that 45% of businesswomen have a positive experience on their business trip.
Just 39% of men say the same thing.
There’s no explanation why this is the case.
It has been suggested it’s linked to women being better at handling difficult situations.
In effect, they are better at making the most of a bad situation.
It’s worth noting that there’s not a shortage of men and women wanting to travel.
According to the latest reports, just 12% of corporate travel representatives have received feedback from employees who are unwilling to travel anywhere.
11. The Average Expenses Report Takes 38 Minutes To Complete
Every business trip needs to be accompanied by an expense claim.
Without that and the proper receipts no employee can get back the money they have spent and the company can’t put the costs into their accounts.
According to the latest research, it takes the average employee 38 minutes to complete and correct a standard expense form.
The survey found that it takes around 20 minutes to complete the form but that roughly 1 in 5 forms have an error.
These need to be corrected and that brings the average up for all forms to 38 minutes.
Alongside this, it’s worth noting that the average employee will file 1.5 expense reports every month.
That’s effectively an hour of time lost monthly on filing expense reports.
It doesn’t include the time spent briefing others about the meeting or event.
In short, every business trip can cost the company 1-3 hours in non-productive time.
remembering when deciding if the trip is worthwhile or not.
When looking at productivity it’s worth noting that just 50% of business travelers will follow the company guidelines regarding travel.
A staggering 60% of business travelers either haven’t read or failed to understand the travel policy, making it almost impossible for them to follow it.
12. Just 16% Of Business Travel Is Completed By Plane
When you think of business travel most people assume businessmen and women jump on a plane, in business or first-class, and fly where they need to go.
However, despite the large sum of money businesses spend on air fares every year, the truth is the car is the more popular option.
Recent research shows that 81% of business trips are undertaken in a private or business vehicle.
In fact, just 16% of business trips are completed with the help of a plane.
The other 3% of trips use a variety of other transport options, such as buses and trains.
Studies have shown that the cost of driving to many venues is cheaper than flying.
You can actually save time as you can drive straight away, flying may be faster but you need to get to the airport early and you need transport at the other end.
That means flying isn’t always quicker than driving and it’s often not cheaper.
Driving also has the advantage of being able to stop and start whenever you want.
13. 90.6% Of Management Feel Travel Is Essential For The Company Brand And Growth
If you have any doubt regarding the need for business travel then you’re in the minority.
The latest studies show that 90.6% of management executives feel that travel is essential for the development of the company brand.
While digital technology has made communicating around the globe easier, it is still important to be physically present.
When a business representative is somewhere in person, people are more likely to ask questions and remember who the company is.
In short, brand awareness and even reputation rise just by attending an array of events.
It’s not just a feeling.
According to the latest research, every dollar spent on business travel will earn the company $2.90 in profit.
Depending on the value of your product, this can make a sizable difference to your revenue.
14. 73.2% Of Business Travelers Are Concerned About Delayed Flights
Business travel is often seen as a luxury.
Travelers may receive first-class treatment, enjoy some downtime, and get to see a variety of destinations.
However, business travelers also need to attend meetings and make sure the profile of the business is raised.
This can be very difficult when they are on a tight timetable and something goes wrong.
For business travelers, one of the biggest worries is that the flight is delayed.
This can cause issues with connections or even making a meeting on time.
According to the latest studies, 2.7% of all domestic flights in the US are canceled every year.
Worse, approximately one in five flights are delayed.
Other major concerns for business travelers include 43.8% being worried about limited seat availability on airlines.
A further 41% worry about earning frequent flier points, and 31.4% worry about security, even though they have nothing to hide.
15. 54% Of Business Travelers Rate Real Time Notification As The Most Valuable Travel Option
As business travel, with truncated timescales, can be stressful, most business travelers value certain things to help keep the process moving smoothly.
The biggest request by business travelers is for real-time notifications.
An impressive 54% of travelers want this.
A further 46% of travelers want the ability to rebook a flight automatically if you choose.
But, perhaps the most surprising desire for business travelers is face-to-face interactions with customer service assistants and other airline agents.
39% of business travelers want this.
The bottom line is simply that business travelers value information.
They may be trapped in the airport waiting for a plane, but if they know what is going on they can make the most of the available time.
Airlines should take note of this, the one that offers the best service and customer updates is likely to get more business from business travelers.
As this is the bracket that spends the most, it’s a worthwhile investment for any airline.
16. 75% Of Business Trips Are Shorter Than 250 Miles
According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, a staggering 75% of business trips are to destinations within 250 miles of the business.
This explains why so many business people choose to drive to their destinations, it’s just as fast as flying, doesn’t involve hanging around in airports, and it’s generally cheaper.
Alongside this, car rental rates in the US have decreased in recent years, a direct result of more people choosing to travel this way.
Statistics show they have reduced by as much as 15%.
The increase in car rental was partly due to the pandemic as 65% of people using ridesharing services stopped using them due to the pandemic.
The industry hasn’t yet fully recovered.
In 81% of cases, personal cars are used for business trips and mileage is claimed back.
However, that means in 19% of cases, rental or company cars are the preferred option.
That’s a lucrative market that all rental companies should be looking at.
(Bureau of Transportation Statistics)
17. 83% Of Employees See Business Travel As A Job Perk
You may view a business trip as a hassle, having to stay away from home, dealing with strangers, and effectively being on call 24/7 for several days.
However, you’d be in the minority.
According to the latest studies, 83% of employees see business travel as a job perk.
Sure, there are business-related things to do.
But, every trip has some free time and that gives employees a chance to see a new place.
It’s also nice to stay in a hotel and, for some, an opportunity to escape home life temporarily.
The study showed that 79% of employees who undertook business travel declared that it boosted their job satisfaction.
The business travel statistics paint a clear picture.
Not only is this still essential to all businesses, but it’s also a valuable opportunity for anyone in the travel industry.
A large part of travel revenue is connected to business travel
According to statistics, the average business trip costs up to $1,293.
The fact that businesses are still spending at this level shows how important they believe business travel and face-to-face communication are.
As all industries continue to recover from the global pandemic, these figures are likely to improve further, illustrating exactly why anyone in this industry should be looking to boost revenue via business spending.