Companies prioritize ‘bleisure’ more than sustainability in business travel

SAP Concur research shows that only 16 percent of companies consider supplier sustainability when planning business travel. The combination of business and leisure (business leisure; ‘bleisure’) has a higher priority for 47 percent of the respondents. The risk of corona infections and any related travel restrictions are the most important considerations for 53 percent of those surveyed.

Sustainability is very important to organizations, but at the same time, many companies struggle to implement sustainability measures effectively in their business strategy, according to a survey by SAP Concur of 700 business decision makers across Europe*.

The survey shows that as many as four in five (81%) say their company is either very committed to making a positive impact, but has difficulty putting sustainability into practice, or is simply not sure how to must be implemented. This challenge is exacerbated by the involvement of other interests and a lack of supporting tools.

Other interests

For example, only 16 percent of companies surveyed say that the sustainability of suppliers, such as hotels, car rental companies and airports, plays a role in organizing a business trip. Only 22 percent think specifically about the emission of greenhouse gases. While health and safety factors are of course the most important for many companies, surprisingly for almost half (47%) the possibility of a ‘bleisure’ trip is a higher priority in the planning phase.

Apparently, there is a challenge in aligning the companies’ sustainability goals and the way in which these goals are to be achieved in practice. For example, nearly half of respondents (44%) say they are aware of the importance of building relationships with sustainable organizations to design sustainable business travel programs. But a similar number (45%) also say that their company is not good at including supplier sustainability in their business travel decisions.

Lack of tools

Another challenge for companies in establishing sustainable business travel programs appears to be a lack of reporting and analytics capabilities.

“While organizations are increasingly aware of the power of technology to assess sustainability, only 8 percent of respondents say that their data and information for measuring sustainability is completely adequate. In addition, 36 percent of respondents cite a lack of professional tools, that provides insight into the environmental impact of a business trip, such as CO2 emissions, as a significant barrier to developing more sustainable business travel programs,” says Jan-Willem Basselier, EMEA Director Cloud Channel Sales (Travel) at SAP Concur. “Without such insight, organizations are likely not well equipped to make informed choices about the optimal design of their travel program.”

The results also indicate a lack of technical capabilities, as two-thirds (67%) of companies do not have travel or expense management software. This is concerning because professional solutions provide the data and analytics tools that companies and their business travelers need to make informed decisions and tailor their business travel programs based on facts.

For more information on sustainability in business travel, visit https://www.concur.nl/sustainable-travel.

*The ‘World Environment Day’ report is based on insights from business decision makers in companies with more than 100 employees. The study was conducted by iResearch for SAP Concur between February and March 2022 in Benelux, Germany, France, Italy, Scandinavia, Spain and the UK.

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