With business travel across domestic and international markets showing a rebound post-pandemic, majority of Indian businesses (67%) expect a rise in business travel in 2023 and 77% of businesses are expecting to increase their travel budget in 2023 as compared to 2022, according to a survey.
The survey further indicated that 79% of Indian businesses surveyed use business travel data analytics to assist with travel booking and expenditure, showing how important technology has become for the travel sector.
As with the broader technology sector, the travel technology sector is constantly innovating. In the post-pandemic period, 43% of financial decision-makers surveyed said that the use of better software to manage expenses and travel is a key innovation.
In terms of the practical methods used to pay for travel expenses, the most common way, used by two-thirds of companies (66%), is that the business has company accounts with third-party booking systems. However, most businesses reported using multiple methods, with 61% saying they let employees pay expenses, and 57% saying they provide employees with access to a company credit card.
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The business travel and entertainment (T&E) survey report titled ‘Revival of business travel: An India perspective’ was commissioned by American Express, India with the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr).
The survey was conducted among over 500 Indian businesses across cities in India, focussing on larger businesses.
- 53% of businesses said that just over half of their employees had taken an international or domestic work trip in H2 2022.
- Government/public sector employees followed by marketing, sales, real estate, professional services, and pharmaceuticals lead trips. 64% of government or public sector employees took international or domestic trips for work.
- One of the reasons preventing a full bounce-back of business travel is that more meetings and events are now being conducted virtually.
- The top reason for business travel, selected by 41% of businesses, was attending, hosting or presenting at conferences, presentations or events.
- Mumbai was the most visited city for domestic business trips (50% of respondents), while internationally, United States (44% of respondents) emerged as the most popular destination.
- 77% of businesses expected to increase their travel budget in 2023.
- Agriculture, manufacturing, construction, utilities and engineering topped the list with largest travel budgets on average, at INR 70 lakhs per year for each business.
- 92% of businesses have a travel policy with a further 6% in process of making a travel policy. 46% of businesses selected cost limits for bookings, including hotels, airfares and ground transportation as the topmost component when asked about what is included in their travel policy.
- 43% of financial decision-makers also said that they consider special exceptions or rules for more expensive cities in their policy document, while 43% selected that routes and approval processes for trips that exceed typical limitations are included.
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Commenting on the survey report, Manish Kapoor, Vice President and Head, Global Commercial Services (GCS), American Express Banking Corp., India said, “The sentiment is upbeat for corporate travel in India. While the past two years resulted in a temporary decline in business travel, domestic travel has resumed, and almost surpassed the pre-pandemic level. International travel is also picking up and we can expect a sustained recovery. With increased average ticket prices expected to remain high in the medium term, Indian companies will be exploring technologies, and should adopt smarter solutions for better cost efficiencies.”