Business travel isn’t done for fun, and most companies craft their travel policies to recognise the need for employee comfort and convenience on the road, according to the findings of the new Egencia Travel Policy Insights report.
Most business travel flights are in economy class, for example, but companies often allow employees to fly in business class or first class if they are taking long flights; employers typically set the bar for class upgrades at between four and ten hours of flight time.
As a result, 33 per cent of international business travel and 13 per cent of domestic travel include flights in premium class.
“So more than VIP standing, the traveller’s comfort is the main driver for allowing premium travel – making sure they can make the most out of their trip by arriving rested and productive for the business to be done,” according to a Egencia press statement on the report.
More broadly, a majority (65 per cent) of companies allow business travellers to make their own travel arrangements without prior approval. More companies say they are starting to require airline tickets to be purchased 14 days or longer in advance, but even at companies with such policies, tickets get booked closer to the day of travel about half the time.
“This suggests that despite policies that require early planning, last-minute bookings are still allowed,” Egenia noted.
Scheduling of business travel is also often done with the needs of employees in mind, too. Most business travellers still leave for trips on Mondays so they can get back home for the weekend. However, some are choosing to add some leisure time to their business trips.
Egencia said that 68 per cent of business travellers took at least one mixed “bleisure” trip last year, with premium-class travellers being almost twice as likely to do so as economy-class travellers.
“Saturday stays, particularly for international travel, can give workers time to rest and acclimate before starting the work week abroad,” according to the corporate travel expense management company.
“Companies and employees can both benefit from bleisure. Saturday travel for international flights may also decrease the price of a plane ticket, so when the cost of extra hotel nights is factored in, for the same total trip cost, the traveller can be rested, more productive, and maybe happy to have some time to explore a new city, providing the perfect balance of traveller satisfaction and cost savings.”