Although corporate travel is largely bouncing back after a big dip due to the 2008 recession, all those business travel perks are not coming back along with it. Business travel spending is up and trip counts are up, USA Today reports, but companies are still putting on the brakes when it comes to keeping the expenses on the lowest end of the scale.
Business Travel on the Rise
The 2015 travel forecast from the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) showcases some notable numbers.
- $310.2 billion: Spending on business travel expected this year, up by 6.2 percent
- 490.4 million: Number of corporate trips expected this year, up by 1.7 percent
Inflation accounts for about 66 percent of the increase in spending, with the other 33 percent linked to business travelers being more productive than ever before. The average business trip is longer than it was 15 years back, but the perks are decidedly less perky than they used to be.
Significant Perks Extinct
Companies are keeping the belt tight in the realm of business travel expenses. Many only allow their employees to fly coach, unless enough accumulated frequent flier miles result in a seat upgrade.
Hotel choices largely remain cemented in mid-range lodging. Others put a cap on the daily meal expenses at around $40 to $60, depending on the destination city, forever obliterating the client wining and dining that used to be part of the game.
One member of USA Today’s panel of frequent business travelers, known as the Road Warriors, said business travel used to be a blast. But now it’s more like just another mundane chore that’s part of the job requirements.
Companies have also turned a keen eye on expense management with an array of strict policies and tools, making it tougher for employees to get away with any fudging.
For Road Warrior members, the general consensus is that the big perks are never coming back. This holds true even when clients themselves request employees be sent halfway around the globe to meet in person.
The answer is still yes, but the costs associated with the travel are in some cases now being expensed to the client that requested it – a strategy that reminds clients to spend wisely since it is indeed their dime.
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