The report, which takes a comprehensive look at business travel on a global scale from the perspectives of different industry sectors and the UK, US and German markets has found that 85% of respondents have taken a business trip to London.
Over the past five years, the business sector with the most number of travellers into London has been those from finance, followed by lawyers and those from the energy sector. With Brexit negotiations kicking off within the past 12 months, travellers from the energy sector have just outnumbered those from finance, with the legal sector in third place, followed by those from the pharmaceutical industry and manufacturing in fifth.
The Heathrow Express Business Travel Insights Report surveyed 2424 travellers and reveals booking and travel patterns, insights into work/life balance, personal spending habits and thought processes behind current decision-making trends.
Fraser Brown, Director, Heathrow Express said: “This year Heathrow Express reached the historic milestone of carrying its 100 millionth customer, of which we estimate 60 million were business travellers, so we are delighted to publish our first Business Travel Insights Report, an in depth look into the behaviour of business travellers.”
The top findings were as follows
The most popular business destination
· Eighty-five per cent of respondents have taken a business trip to London and it is the number one most popular business trip destination cited in the survey, with 47% of respondents attending a conference in the city. In terms of attracting business travellers, the biggest sector travelling to London across the last five years has been finance, followed by lawyers, the energy sector. Over the past year, this has changed slightly with Energy sector business travellers topping the charts, followed by finance, legal, pharmaceutical and manufacturing.
· Paris has been the number one business travel destination for journalists over the past 12 months.
The business of business travel
· British business travellers make more domestic and international business trips than either their US or German colleagues and in the last year British business travellers took on average 2.7 domestic business trips and 3.1 international trips as compared to 2.6 domestic trips and 2.1 international by Americans, and 2.6 domestic and 2.1 international business trips taken by German business travellers.
· Conferences are the number one business trip generator, with 39% of responders citing conference as a purpose for travel. Business travellers from the US are the most likely to travel for conferences, while the pharmaceutical sector travel the most for conferences – followed closely by the journalist fraternity.
· The finance sector is the most travelled industry, making up 18% of those who responded with manufacturing coming in second at 13.3%.
· While the finance (33%), legal (48%), manufacturing (30%) and transport (45%) sectors have most of their business travellers sitting in premium economy seats for long haul flights, the travel industry (29%), media (31%) and pharmaceutical (33%) business travellers are more likely to sit in Business. The energy sector (32%) is the only sector where the biggest proportion of their travellers sit in First.
· Only 35% of business travellers work while at the airport, with the majority spending their time relaxing (56%) or eating and drinking (59%).
· Older travellers and those travelling in economy leave the least amount of time for travelling to the airport. Economy business travellers are more likely to work in the airport but then switch off during a flight. First and Business class passengers are more likely to relax in the airport and then mix their flight time working and relaxing.
· Fifty-six per cent of respondents said video calling has made being away from family easier when travelling.
· Safety is the number one consideration for business travellers when it comes to booking flights and accommodation (although those travelling in First Class are least likely to be concerned by safety).
· Speed and efficiency is overall the most important aspect of choosing how to travel to and from an airport.
Business travellers spending their own money · While global business travel spend was estimated to top $1.3 trillion USD in 2016, the The Heathrow Express Business Travel Insights Report, has found that travellers are also spending on average £373 of their own money on each trip. Shopping is the key area, but with 35% of travellers adding one or two nights onto their trips for leisure purposes, business travellers are also contributing their own money in destinations when it comes to accommodation, food and drink, attractions and transport.
· Business travellers from the USA typically spend the most amount of their own money when on a trip compared to British and German travellers and spend on average double the amount of their own money on accommodation. However, long haul First class passengers are spending nearly three times (on average £217 per trip) as much as economy passengers (£79) on shopping on each trip, while premium economy passengers spend more money on food and drink (on average £102 per trip) than any other class of passenger.
· After controlling for the length of trip, typically personal spend whilst on a business trip increases in almost all areas – especially in terms of accommodation, food and drink. However, younger age groups spend the most on shopping.
· London is where travellers spend the most (average of £94 per day). This is followed by Paris (£88) and Frankfurt (£81)
· Paris has the highest spend for shopping, followed by New York then London
· Business travellers spend the least money in LA and Madrid
· Regular domestic business travellers tend to spend more than non regular travellers, however for international trips a different pattern can be seen
· Those taking 2-3 trips international business trips spend the most, those taking more than that spend less. This could be due to those who travel less often wanting to make more out of their trip and doing more whilst there, such as going to restaurants or visiting nearby sites/attractions
While global levels of business travel have not fully recovered 2007 levels, 72% of respondents said that the number of international business trips were either the same or more than last year and 75% said that the number of domestic trips were either the same or more than last year.