SAP Concur’s outlook for corporate travel

By Bev Fearis, published 29/07/20

A global survey of travel managers has found an overwhelming majority (96%) say their company is not fully prepared to manage evolving travel demands during the pandemic crisis.

The survey of 800 travel managers in eight global markets, commissioned by SAP Concur, was carried out in May and June.

It found the biggest pain points for travel managers include handling the volume of cancelled reservations (44%), processing the volume of refunds, receipts, and unused tickets (43%), and determining if it is safe to travel in the absence of government guidelines (40%).

Travel managers for SMEs (41%) were more likely to say their company is unprepared to provide safety guidelines to travellers than those from larger businesses (33%).

The survey also questioned 4,850 business travellers in 23 global markets and found that 36% will hold themselves most accountable to protect their health and safety when they can travel, while 18% will hold their employer most accountable and 13% will hold their government most accountable.

Some 65% of business travellers said they intend to take some degree of action if their employer does not implement new measures as they return to business travel.

This might be asking to limit or reduce travel in their current position (45%), searching for a new position within their company that does not require travel (10%), or searching for a position at a different company (8%).

“The scope of the Covid-19 travel disruption has magnified common travel and expense challenges in a way that is unprecedented. Traditional challenges, like ensuring necessary oversight of employees’ business travel plans, rapidly became complex for employers amid ongoing restrictions that remain unpredictable,” said Mike Koetting, Chief Product Strategy Officer at SAP Concur.

“Businesses need to be proactive about supporting and safeguarding employees as they prepare to travel again for work, whether putting pre-trip approvals and guidance in place or ensuring visibility into itineraries and spend information, wherever employees book travel.”

TripIt, an SAP Concur travel app, has launched several new features and resources with new health and safety concerns in mind, including Nearby Places, a search feature that makes it easy to find places close to a traveller’s location, such as restaurants or shops. From August, the tool will also make it easy to find nearby hospitals, clinics, and pharmacies.

The app will also have a new safety feature that scores neighbourhoods from 1 to 100, representing low to high risk, including a Health and Medical score that factors in Covid-19 data.