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The Six Faces of the Business Traveler

The Six Faces of the Business Traveler

An organizations diversity is a key part of its ability to generate new ideas and to keep ahead of both strategic and technological trends in order to build relationships with customers and to ultimately grow the business. From your millennials to your baby boomers, your entry level workers to your executives, each has a different method of working and with this comes a different method of travel.

Looking at this, Concur recently released its annual State of Business Travel Report for 2016, which sought to develop insights on the world of business travel based on data generated by roughly 40 million end users generating 86 million expense reports processed and $76 billion in travel and expense spending.

Meet the Six Faces of Business Travel

Using this data, the company was able to develop six personas of business traveler/manager/planner, each with different needs, preferences, and behaviors:

Sam Thompson, Savvy Traveler

The most well-informed of the business travelers, the savvy traveler is a travel pro who’s on the road 40% of the time. Knowing the ins and outs of travel policy, Sam travels 25 times per year, books travel himself, has preferences on hotels and flights, and finds travel a necessary hassle—he just wants to get home.

Accounting for only 9% of the user population, the savvy traveler is constantly on the road, accounting for 27% of an organization’s spend.

As this traveler is often out meeting clients, flights and hotels are booked later than the others (more than 20% of flights are booked within the last week, booking on average 19 days before date of travel; hotels booked on average 14 days before trip).

Jeremy Sparks, Jet Setter

Jet Setter Jeremy might be a commercial trade lawyer or senior VP who travels frequently (and globally) to meet with clients and to speak at conferences. His firm has a generous travel policy, and Jeremy is comfortable leveraging it.

Often relying on an assistant to book travel for him and not bound by an expense policy, Jeremy flies first class and stays in five-star hotels near client, accounting for only 4% of users but 19% of money spent.

Another frequent traveler (27 trips per year), the jet setter is another late booker, with over 20% of flights booked a week or less before travel and hotels booked within the last 3 days. Comfort and location are key, booking ‘premium’ for 14% of domestic and 46% of international flights.

Hannah Nishino, High-Tech Newbie

High-tech Hannah might be a 26-year-old in marketing for a global high-tech company. Sometimes last-minute changes throw a wrench in her plans, which can make separating her expenses difficult.

Often tacking additional vacation days onto necessary business trips, the high-tech newbie is a late expense report filer who fears toeing the policy line. Accounting for 16% of travelers and 21% of spending, Hannah is a mobile-friendly traveler who books hotels 17 days in advance and flights 24 days in advance.

Alan Manning, Approving Manager

Approving Alan might be an operations manager for a game development company where employees frequently travel between two offices. He has responsibility for approving travel for his direct reports and gets frustrated when employees make travel plans that are out of policy.

Taking few trips himself, as the manager overseeing and approving travel and expense reports, Alan has little tolerance for disruptions, and is hyper-focused on keeping employees under policy. Accounting for 14% of users, the approving manager’s submissions account for 17% of the money spent on travel.

On average, Alan is adept at booking travel in advance, booking flights on average more than 30 days in advance and hotels 18 days in advance. Aligning with his hopes to control spending, this user only books 2% ‘premium’ domestic flights and 26% on international.

Tanya Abbott, Travel Arranger

Travel Arranger Tanya might be a 53-year-old long-time executive assistant who plans travel for her boss and her boss’s team. If Tanya could change one thing about expenses, it would be not having to handle them all when her boss hands over an envelope with two weeks’ worth of receipts.

Never traveling herself, the travel arranger is one who is focused on keeping the traveler happy on the road, often providing itineraries and calendar updates, and keeping each traveler in line with policy.

Accounting for 2% of users and 3% of spending, Tanya is another early booker who finds flights on average 30+ days in advance and hotels on average 22 days in advance. This user is known for filing expense reports for teammates after they hand her piles of receipts and expensing several times a week.

Carl Plackett, Cautious Planner

Cautious Carl hasn’t really found his footing with business travel. He rarely travels, and when he does, it is to the same location – his company’s other office. Dealing with “the unknown,” including his company’s changing travel policy, makes Carl feel out of control and underprepared.

Generally unaware of a company’s travel policy, Carl files his expense reports as quickly as possible and tries to stick to a travel budget, unfortunately going out of policy when under pressure. A rare traveler, this user accounts for 55% of Concur users but only 13% of spending. Carl, by definition, tries to plan as much in advance as possible, booking flights on average 27 days in advance and hotels 19 days in advance.

More often than not, Carl is a mobile-first traveler, using the Concur app just over half of the time—52%.

Learn More about the Six Faces of Business Travel

The Concur Report, State of Business Travel in 2016, takes a much deeper look into each of the traveler preferences and needs, highlighting some of the following and more:

  • What are the top considerations each traveler makes for flights, hotels, and transport?
  • Who is the most likely to use ridesharing or home-sharing services?
  • What are the biggest fears of each traveler?
  • How much does each spend on breakfast, lunch, and dinner?

These need to know facts, as well as a few interesting statistics about Concur users:

  • How many sessions were started from the International Space Station? Antarctica?
  • What are the top 10 US and International hotel locations?
  • What city’s business travelers had the most outbound flights?
  • What was the most expensive car rental expensed in 2015? The most expensive ridesharing bill expensed?

Download Concur’s 2016 State of Business Travel to find out more.

Looking to appease everyone? Learn more about how Concur can help you to develop and manage an effective travel policy and to gain visibility into spending like never before, and how you can take it even further with ExpenseConnect for Intacct or ExpenseConnect for GP.

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