Global: What has business travel looked like in the past 12 months?
April 20th, 2022, Janice Fernandes

Global: What has business travel looked like in the past 12 months?

As the effects of the pandemic begin to subside, business travel is picking up again. Latest data from YouGov’s newest tool, Global Profiles, reveals how many consumers have travelled for business in the past 12 months, and the various activities they’ve done. Global Profiles tracks consumer thoughts, feelings, behaviours and habits, and also monitors global trends and media consumption across 43 markets

In this piece, we’ve chosen 21 countries from all the markets surveyed in Global Profiles. While a significant proportion of people in every market say they’ve travelled for leisure, those who’ve travelled for business is much lower. The share of global respondents who say they’ve taken only a business trip in the past 12 months is less than one in ten (8%), but a slightly higher share has travelled both for business and leisure (13%).

Indonesians are more than twice as likely as the global audience to say they’ve only taken a business trip (18%). That figure steadily drops across markets, with the number of business travellers in the US and France, for example, around 4%.

Singapore registers the lowest proportion of residents who've taken only a business trip in the past 12 months. While just 1% have travelled only for business purposes, the proportion of those who have taken both business and leisure trips scores slightly higher (3%). Britons also register a similar travel pattern with 2% having travelled for business only and 6% for both business and leisure.

What activities have business travellers engaged in while on these trips?

Looking specifically at those who travelled for business, unsurprisingly, over two in five say they stayed in a hotel or motel (46%). Travellers in Japan and Mexico are significantly more likely than global respondents to have done so (61% and 60% respectively). On the other hand, North Americans - Canada and USA (39% each) - are significantly less likely to have stayed in a hotel or motel.

Over a third of business passengers across the globe (37%) said they had travelled via air. More than half of UAE business travellers have travelled by air (57%), the highest among all markets and more than the share of UAE travellers who stayed in a hotel (45%). Other markets where more than 50% travellers say they’ve used air travel includes Australia (55%) and China (50%). Mexicans are as likely as global respondents to say they’ve flown for business trips (37%). The percentage drops slightly among other North American countries – US (32%) and Canada (33%).

Data indicates that travellers in most markets are less likely than the global audience (27%) to say they’ve rented a car for business. However, a few markets that over-index global respondents register a significantly higher figure – South Africa (40%), Australia (39%), India (36%). Argentinian travellers register the lowest score (7%), followed by Great Britain (9%).

Visiting a local attraction might not be the most traditional way to conduct business but ‘bleisure’ trips – one which blend an element of leisure into a business trip may be on the rise. Around 20% of global business travellers say they’ve visited casinos, museums, resorts, and amusement parks on their travels. Chinese and Singaporean travellers are more likely to say they’ve visited a local attraction for business (34% and 30% respectively). UAE residents (21%) along with Indians (20%) are as likely as global respondents (20%), while slightly fewer Britons (14%) say the same.

Further, packaged deals are quite popular for business travellers in a few Asian and MENA countries - China (30%), South Africa (27%), Singapore (26%) and UAE (19%). However, there is limited enthusiasm among travellers in the US (13%) and Canada (12%) towards booking a flight, hotel and rental car together.

Taking a cruise doesn’t feature on top of the list of activities done for business. Globally less than one in ten travellers says they’ve taken a cruise in the past 12 months (8%). However, Singaporeans are almost twice as likely as global respondents to say they’ve taken one (20%). Travellers in South Africa (17%) and Australia (14%) are less likely to say the same but it's still higher than all other markets.

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Methodology: YouGov Global Profiles is a globally consistent audience dataset with 1000+ questions across 43 markets. The data is based on continuously collected data from adults aged 16+ in China and 18 and over in other markets. The sample sizes for YouGov Global Profiles will fluctuate over time, however the minimum sample size is always c.1000. Data from each market uses a nationally representative sample apart from India and UAE, which use urban representative samples, and China, Egypt, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, Morocco, Philippines, South Africa, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam, which use online representative samples. Learn more about Global Profiles.