- 77 per cent of Indian businesses expect to increase their travel budget in 2023.
- 67 per cent of Indian businesses expect a rise in business travel in 2023.
- 79 per cent of Indian businesses use business travel data analytics to assist with travel booking and expenditure.
With business travel across domestic and international markets showing a rebound post-pandemic, the majority of Indian businesses (67 per cent) expect a rise in business travel in 2023, and 77 per cent of companies are hoping to increase their travel budget in 2023 as compared to 2022. The business travel and entertainment (T&E) survey report, Revival of business travel: An India perspective, commissioned by American Express, India, with the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr), revealed these findings.
The report further indicates that 79 per cent of Indian businesses surveyed use business travel data analytics to assist with travel booking and expenditure, showing how vital technology has become for the travel sector. As with the broader technology sector, travel technology is constantly innovating. In the post-pandemic period, 43 per cent of financial decision-makers said that using better software to manage expenses and travel is a crucial innovation.
Manish Kapoor, Vice President and Head of 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.”
In terms of the practical methods used to pay for travel expenses, the most common way, used by two-thirds of companies (66 per cent), is that the business has company accounts with third-party booking systems. However, most businesses reported using multiple methods, with 61 per cent saying they let employees pay expenses and 57 per cent saying they provide employees with access to a company credit card.
Business travel trends: Current and Future
- 53 per cent 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 per cent 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.
Reasons for travel and key locations to visit in the second half of 2022
- The top reason for business travel, selected by 41 per cent of businesses, was attending, hosting or presenting at conferences, presentations or events.
- Mumbai was the most visited city for domestic business trips (50 per cent of respondents), while internationally, United States (44 per cent of respondents) emerged as the most popular destination.
Budgets and payment
- 77 per cent 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.
- 79 per cent of Indian businesses surveyed said they use business travel data analytics to assist with travel booking and expenditure, showing how important technology has become for the travel sector. Three-quarters also said they use travel management software.
- As with the broader technology sector, travel technology is constantly innovating. In the post-pandemic period, 43 per cent of financial decision makers surveyed said that the use of better software to manage expenses and travel is a crucial innovation.
- 92 per cent of businesses have a travel policy, with a further 6 per cent in the process of making a travel policy. 46 per cent of companies 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 per cent of financial decision makers also selected that they consider notable exceptions or rules for more expensive cities in their policy document. In comparison, 43 per cent also decided that routes and approval processes for trips that exceed typical limitations are included.
- Over a third (36 per cent) of respondents also selected environmental sustainability considerations, highlighting that this is an increasingly important topic.
The Revival of business travel: An India perspective report was conducted amongst 500+ Indian businesses across cities in India. It focuses on larger companies, with half of the respondents seeing annual revenues greater than INR 600 crores, with 82% of companies in the survey report having 250 employees or more.