Business travelers don't mind spending their own money to enjoy themselves

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Business travelers don't mind spending their own money to enjoy themselves

Many believe business travelers have an endless corporate budget that allow them to dine at the finest restaurants and take cabs everywhere; however, these preconceived notions are often far from the reality of being a business traveler, reported USA Today.

"Companies are focusing on getting the value out of their trips," Joe Bates, senior director of research at the Global Business Travel Association, told the news source. "They want to make sure their travelers are being mindful of the amount they're spending to watch the bottom line."

These strict budgets are often causing business travelers to reach into their own pocket if they want to splurge on services their employer does not cover, said the source. Many have gotten used to spending their own dime if they go over budget, and it doesn't seem to bother them.

"I'm never going to get hung up on $30, $40 or $50," business traveler DaWane Wanek told the news source. "It adds up, but that's my choice. … I'm making the choice for quality of life."

Travel managers are giving their staff fewer perks, not because of more strict regulations on spending, but because of the increased cost of travel. According to the source, flying first or business class has become more of a treat than a commonality and services such as Wi-Fi access on a plane are also digging into the budgets travel managers have to work with.

While travel managers are trying to limit spending, placing their staff in corporate suites is one thing that will please many business travelers. With a number of amenities that allow travelers to feel as if they are staying in an apartment, these living quarters give travel managers the most bang for their buck.

After living accommodations and flights, business travelers know that their budgets may be quite thin, which is why many don't mind spending their own cash to enjoy their time away from the office, said the news source.

"However, while I don't hesitate at expensing a customary, personal dinner after a long day of work on the road, should I desire a second glass of wine or a nightcap, that expense falls on my shoulders, not my company's," Derek Hunter, a national sales manager in Los Angeles, told USA Today.

While travel managers are always wary of their budgets, recent research from the GBTA found business travel is climbing back to pre-recession levels. Michael McCormick, chief operating officer of the GBTA, told Fox Business his company expects moderate growth of business travel over the next eight quarters and things look much better than the previous year.

The GBTA is also finding that business travelers are taking fewer trips, but are doing more on those trips, which falls in line with recent findings that businesses are spending less on travel, but spending is continuing to grow. Business travelers are spending more time in each location, creating less reason for more trips to be taken per year.

"The continued stability of business travel bodes well for the economy as a whole and for continued recovery in the employment market," McCormick told the news source.

Many believe the economy is back on the upswing, which will further influence the budgets travel managers have to work with.