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Business travel. It may sound glamorous to office bound workers, but new research from Mintel reveals the true cost of business travel and finds just a quarter (27%) of business travellers have been fully reimbursed for business trips taken.

Mintel’s research questioning business travellers about their company’s approach to business travel highlights the downside for many employees. Indeed, not only are consumers not being fully reimbursed for their expenses but almost a quarter (22%) say they often work longer hours whilst on business travel. What is more, just 19% of travellers have been reimbursed for time spent travelling outside normal hours.

Overall, some 14% of these travellers say they would be unhappy if their company made them take more trips while almost one in ten (8%) – equating to over 850,000 working consumers – admit that business trips cause a strain on their relationships with family, partner or friends.

Harry Segal, Travel and Tourism Analyst at Mintel, said:

“While respondents may have different views over what ‘fully reimbursed’ constitutes, it is a fair assumption that the majority of business travellers feel out of pocket at the end of a business trip. With a sizable proportion of business travellers claiming that they work longer hours and that business trips are putting a strain on their relationships, companies looking to get the best out of employees in the time they are away should perhaps take note of where negative implications are occurring.”

Reflecting fluctuating business confidence, Mintel’s research finds that 18% of employees who have taken a business trip in the last 12 months say that their company opts for budget travel options. Meanwhile, some 16% of business travellers say their company is stricter in enforcing travel policy than it used to be. Just 6% say that their company is prepared to pay extra for a premium service, while less than one in five (17%) business travellers say their company lets employees choose travel options. Some 14% say they have shared a room with a work colleague.

“As companies cut back on premium travel options, the line between traditional business travel and consumer travel will become increasingly blurred. Low-cost airlines are keen to gain share in the business travel market, as shorter lead times in the booking process often mean higher ticket prices compared to holidaymakers.” adds Harry.

Business traveller report


While the report highlights some of the downsides to business travel, some three in ten (30%) business travellers admit that business trips offer a welcome change from everyday work life – an attitude which drops to a quarter (26%) of parents. Similarly, those without children (38%) are significantly more likely to prefer to stay overnight rather than travel twice in one day, compared to 29% with children.

And while there is a significant demand for mixing business with pleasure, few have combined the two. Indeed, some 24% of business travellers would like to extend business trip to include leisure time but just 13% have done so. Similarly, 20% would like to bring along their partner or family but just 12% have been able to do so. Mintel’s research also finds that just 8% of employers allow employees to extend business trips to include leisure, and just 5% pay for employees to bring their family or partner.

“These findings suggest that there is scope for brands to better incentivise business travellers to demand an ad-hoc change of policy from their employers.” Harry concludes .