In-Person Meetings Still Critical for Sales and Customer-facing Teams, Travel Managers Say

New survey forecasts higher quality, customer-driven trips as the future of business travel

LOS ANGELES & PORTLAND, Maine--()--Zoom won’t keep sales teams off the road, according to new research from Emburse, a global leader in expense and AP automation solutions.

Emburse today released the first installment of The Remaking of Business Travel, new research that explores the nature of business trips post-pandemic.

According to a survey of travel managers in the U.S. and Canada, more than half of all respondents (fifty-three percent) anticipate the level of travel for sales and customer-facing teams to be the same as it was pre-pandemic within 2021. A further eight percent expect it to actually exceed pre-pandemic levels. Sixty-five percent expect travel for executive and board meetings to hit pre-pandemic levels.

However, trips unrelated to revenue generation are likely to diminish post-Covid. More than six in ten respondents anticipate that travel for both internal meetings (for training and team-building) and conferences/trade shows will decline below previous levels.

The study explored not only why we’ll travel, but also who will be making those trips. Sixty-five percent of travel managers plan to implement tighter policies by role and thirty-eight percent will limit travel to senior employees. Eighty-six percent say having a distributed workforce won’t increase the number of employees on the road, despite around five percent of the country having moved because of the pandemic, especially from coastal business hubs like Manhattan and San Francisco.

Those who travel can look forward to higher quality experiences, with an emphasis on safety. Almost unanimously, respondents ranked “duty of care” among the most important issues for business travel programs, even above cost control. Another seventy-five percent listed “employee satisfaction” as a top priority. How will travel managers ensure that satisfaction? One in two pledge to provide more positive travel experiences, and one in three aim to keep trips shorter.

“The pandemic shutdown gave companies the opportunity to think more intentionally about how and why they travel,” said Eric Friedrichsen, CEO of Emburse. “Many organizations are re-imagining business travel as an extension of their brand: they want to create safe, seamless experiences for their employees to show they support their well-being, while underlining their commitment to customers with face-to-face time. Video meetings will still take place, but this research shows that, for high-value interactions, there’s no substitute for in-person. With a looming talent shortage, it’s likely that companies will look for ways to strengthen employee relationships and internal meetings will start to be seen as equally high-value too.”

About The Remaking of Business Travel

The Remaking of Business Travel is an Emburse research survey conducted in collaboration with the Global Business Travel Association. The GBTA team surveyed 220 travel managers in the US and Canada between April 22-28, 2021. One third of the companies surveyed had travel budgets of less than $10M; one third had budgets of $10M-$30M, and the last demographic had a budget of +$30M. These companies ranged in industry, including professional services, healthcare, finance and more.

About Emburse

Emburse humanizes work by empowering business travelers, finance professionals, and CFOs to eliminate manual, time-consuming tasks so they can focus on what matters most.

Emburse offers a growing portfolio of award-winning expense and AP automation solutions, including Emburse Abacus, Emburse Captio, Emburse Certify, Emburse Chrome River, Emburse Cards, Emburse Nexonia, Emburse SpringAhead and Emburse Tallie. Its innovative offerings are tailored to meet the unique needs of specific industries, company sizes, and geographies, and are trusted by more than 9 million users in more than 120 countries. Over 16,000 customers, from start-ups to global enterprises, including Boot Barn, Grant Thornton, Telefónica, Lufthansa Systems, and Toyota rely on Emburse to eliminate manual processes, make faster, smarter decisions, and help make users’ lives - and their businesses - better.

Emburse is recognized as a leader in expense management and accounts payable automation by analyst firm IDC, and has received multiple awards for its high levels of customer satisfaction.

For more information on Emburse, visit emburse.com, call 877-EMBURSE, or follow the organization’s social channels at @emburse.

Contacts

Maura Yepez
Firebrand Communications for Emburse
415 848 9175
emburse@firebrand.marketing

Contacts

Maura Yepez
Firebrand Communications for Emburse
415 848 9175
emburse@firebrand.marketing