BCD Travel finds less than half of policies include sustainable travel

by: Felicity Cousins | June 14, 2024

WORLDWIDE: Global travel management company BCD Travel has conducted a study to explore trends and priorities in corporate travel, with sustainability seen as not an immediate priority for business travel policies.

More than 200 travel buyers worldwide took part in the survey and were asked about topics including, the purpose of a trip, traveller wellbeing, sustainable travel, DEI and bleisure travel.

The online survey in in April this year found the top three travel programme priorities had gained importance since last year’s survey – these are duty of care, policy compliance and cost control. 

According to the latest findings, the two most commonly covered themes in travel policies include trip purpose (e.g. client meetings vs. internal meetings) and pre-trip approvals. 

While sustainability is growing in importance in the industry, less than half of respondents said sustainable travel is included in their policy. This is in line with a BCD survey from last summer, which found only 45 per cent of companies have targets for sustainable business travel. 

The results found bleisure travel, remote work, and diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) are covered/included least often, and only 12 per cent have written policies for travellers with accessibility needs or neurodivergent travellers.

Less than one in 10 have policies addressing employees with other needs (e.g nursing mothers), LGBTQIA+ travellers, gender, religion, or age.

However, almost two-thirds of travel buyers expect sustainability (along with safety and security) to have the strongest impact on corporate travel policies in the upcoming years. Other trends of influence are technology, NDC, traveller wellbeing and new traveller needs. 

Meanwhile, DE&I is at the bottom of the list along with bleisure. Both are seen as.”relevant” but are not expected to considerably change travel policies.

Buyers said the biggest challenge for them when updating policies is educating travellers and managing policy exceptions, different regions, and compliance. 

Teri Miller, BCD’s executive vice president of the global client team said: “Travelling for work can be stressful. You want your employees to be able to access all the resources they need to make the process as simple and efficient as possible – and that’s why regular policy communication is so important.”

You can download the full survey here.

In December last year the global travel management company looked at the impact of sustainability on hotel programmes. See the news piece below.

BCD research shows impact of sustainability on hotel programmes

Photo by Martin Adams on Unsplash