Two-thirds of UK businesses plan to increase their spending on business travel by at least 50% over the next year, according to research by corporate card company American Express.
A survey of business leaders and travelers also revealed that 42% of SMEs plan to take more business trips in the next 12 months.
Over 80% of businesses believed travel played a key role in increasing revenue, with 60% planning to expand into the UK and 35% wanting to enter new international markets.
Part of the increase in travel stems from the need to connect remote teams after the pandemic, with 73% saying it was now a major reason for business travel and a fifth already doing more to bring people together their teams.
Other trends include an increase in post-Covid bleisure travel, with 31% of employees taking their partner or family member on a business trip.
Most companies (79%) have also placed more emphasis on the well-being of travelers while on the road, which is just as good as it is becoming increasingly important for employees: 71% said they would quit their jobs if their employer did not prioritize their well-being while travelling.
Sustainability is becoming a bigger issue for travellers, with 71% worrying about the environmental impact of their trips and 78% becoming more aware of their carbon footprint while on the road. About a third of companies would like their business travel to be “greener”, but don’t know how to achieve it.
Hana Lear, Vice President of UK Corporate Card Services at American Express, said: “Corporations had no choice but to pause on many trips over the past two years and rely on virtual alternatives to build relationships with customers and colleagues.
“Our research shows that business travel and the value of in-person relationships to drive growth go hand in hand.
“However, there is clearly a renewed focus on the entire business travel experience to ensure companies and employees maximize the value of travel.”