November 18, 2017
    GBTA index: Technology, connectivity vital to traveling executives

    The heavily travelled association executive, and other business travelers, want their technology - especially Wi-Fi - always on and 24/7. Also, Mexican business travelers are among the most satisfied in the world.

    These are findings of the first GBTA Global Business Traveler Sentiment Index, produced by the GBTA Foundation, an arm of the Global Business Travel Association. The index is a barometer based on business travelers’ attitudes toward seven key components of business-related travel, such as overall trip experience, expense tracking and management and social media experience of business travelers from Australia, Brazil, Canada, Germany, Japan,  Mexico, U.K. and the U.S.

    Key findings of the first index are:

    1. Technology has changed the face of business travel. The vast majority of travelers in all countries, except Japan and Germany, believe access to technology allows them to keep up with their other work demands when traveling (about 75 percent or more on average). In addition, with the exception of Japan (40 percent), about six of 10 travelers in each country agree they have all the necessary resources to be productive while on the road. Travelers believe that Wi-Fi is vital to the work productivity across the board – Mexico (90 percent); Brazil (87 percent); Canada (83 percent); United States (81 percent); United Kingdom (80 percent); Australia (75 percent); Germany (70 percent) and Japan (52 percent).

    A majority of travelers in most countries believe that mobile applications (provided by travel suppliers, event organizers or travel destinations) have enhanced their overall business travel experience. In particular travelers in Australia (57 percent), the U.S. (55 percent), UK (55 percent) and Canada (53 percent) “agree” or “strongly agree” with this statement.

    Submitting paper receipts remains the predominant method of validating expenses, but travelers appreciate the ability to use multiple mechanisms to submitting receipts— paper receipts, taking images of receipts using a photocopier or scanner, and taking photos of receipts using a mobile device. Out of all the countries, the U.S. is the one country that relies on paper receipts the least (52 percent). Conversely, in Japan and Brazil, business travelers primarily rely on paper receipts (88 percent and 78 percent, respectively) and also give the lowest satisfaction ratings.

    Increasingly, travelers are open to new technologies – such as digital wallets – that allow them to keep track of payments and expenses via their mobile devices. Based on their high level of interest, this functionality is most likely to be successful with Mexican (74 percent) and Brazilian (64 percent) travelers, compared to travelers from other countries.

    Social media use for business travel is more widespread among younger travelers (ages 18 to 34) than all other age groups, as well as female travelers compared to male travelers.

    Interest in using sharing-economy transportation services is relatively low among all travelers – only 20 percent of business travelers express interest in using these services more. However, younger travelers in all countries are more likely than older travelers to increase use of these services.

    2.  Despite overall satisfaction with travel, a number pain points have emerged, causing deep frustration for business travelers. While most travelers are significantly satisfied with their trip experience, a few areas have emerged as significant pain points. These include airline fees, getting through security, ensuring convenient flight schedules, rewards points that don’t expire and having adequate Wi-Fi connectivity.

    3.  Travelers are optimistic about the health of their industry, though less hopeful about the overall state of their country’s economy. At least half of travelers from Mexico (65 percent), the U.S. (54 percent), the U.K. (52 percent) and Canada (50 percent) believe the overall health of their industry is excellent, compared to less than half of travelers from Australia (46 percent), Germany (43 percent) Brazil (41 percent), and Japan (36 percent).

    4.  The level of satisfaction in business travel varies widely by country.

    Safety -- Among the encouraging safety findings, travelers from Australia (73 percent) and Mexico (71 percent) are the most likely to feel business travel overall is very safe, followed by Canada, the UK and the U.S. (66 percent, 64 percent and 63 percent, respectively). Conversely, fewer travelers from Brazil, Germany and Japan feel the same level of safety when it comes to business travel (53 percent, 44 percent and 35 percent, respectively).

    Location Technology – Location technologies like GPS navigational tools can aid travelers when traveling for business, in particular locating nearby services (e.g., stores, restaurants, service providers, etc.). Travelers globally expressed high interest in these tools. Interest is highest among travelers in Mexico (82 percent), Brazil (74 percent) and the U.S. (70 percent), compared to travelers in the other surveyed countries. Among travelers that gave a neutral or positive response, in general, they are most interested in using GPS to help locate restaurants, meeting venues, lodging and airports.

    Social Media - Business travelers in Mexico and Brazil, the two Latin American countries included in this study, have had more success than travelers from other countries leveraging social media to connect with friends and colleagues when traveling for work, and finding reviews about suppliers. Details:

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