Business travel seen as a perk in post-COVID US

  • Over a third of US workers say the best business ideas happen when they are traveling on business.
  • Only 26% of US workers think that face-to-face meetings are dead.
  • 74% of US workers think business travel and in-person meetings are needed for the future of business.

Over half (53%) of US workers think their industry needs in-person meetings to survive, a new study has found.

The survey of 1,000 US workers investigated attitudes towards work meetings and business travel. It revealed that only 26% of workers think that face-to-face meetings are dead, with the remaining 74% believing in-person meetings are key for the future of business.

Over half (53%) say it’s easier to trust in-person sales over online, with a further 64% saying the key to trust is human contact. As well as increased trust when meeting in person, the survey highlighted how traveling to in-person meetings is more productive – 60% of US workers said they do more preparation for in-person meetings than they do for virtual meetings.

The survey looked at overall attitudes to business travel, finding that most workers are eager to return to traveling for work. 41% said they see business travel as more of a perk since the pandemic, with 40% saying business travel will be important to them when looking for a new job. It highlighted how younger generations are eager for business travel, with over half (54%) of 16-24-year-olds saying business travel is more of a perk since the pandemic, compared to just 13% of over 55s. As well as wanting more in-person experiences, the younger generations find travel more inspiring. Over half (53%) of Gen Z say the best business ideas happen while traveling, compared to less than a fifth (18%) of over 55s.

Workers are productive and less stressed when they travel for business. Only a quarter (25%) said they feel more stressed when working during a business trip, with 32% saying they feel no different and the remaining 43% feeling less stressed when they work while traveling.

The study also looked at expensing habits, highlighting what people feel comfortable expensing when they travel for work. It found people are most comfortable expensing food, with 83% saying they’d claim back for a meal in a restaurant. This drops when looking at room service, with only 57% feeling comfortable expensing something they’d ordered to their room. Just over a quarter of workers (26%) would feel comfortable expensing alcohol on its own, with men more comfortable than women (16% vs 8%) and Gen Z and millennials more comfortable than over 55s (36% vs 9%).

Food remains top of the list when looking at workers’ priorities when traveling. 72% want to go out for dinner during a business trip, with 69% wanting to stay in a nice hotel and over half (55%) wanting to visit local tourist attractions. Visiting a gym is less popular (24%), while over a third (39%) want to go on a night out when traveling for business. Analyzing industries, it was found HR are the biggest party animals, with 56% saying a night out is a priority when visiting somewhere new for business.

After over a year of remote and blended working, there has been much discussion around whether home or the office is the most beneficial to employees. Many US workers saying business travel is more of a perk now than ever. In fact, 34% said they have their best business ideas when traveling for work, showing just how inspiring getting out into the world and meeting work contacts in person can be.

While the convenience of being able to jump onto a Zoom call for less-essential meetings can and should be recognized, usually the best ideas, the best relationships – and the best results – happen when people travel and meet face-to-face.

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