Business travel is a term that encompasses many activities and purposes. It is an activity that is viewed in different ways by different actors. Travel suppliers see it as a significant source of revenue and a primary market segment. Corporate management sees business travel as both a critical business input and a controllable expense. Travel managers view it as a resource optimization challenge.
Informed policymakers see travel as a generator of jobs, income, and tax revenue - albeit an underappreciated one. Finally, veteran road warriors see it as an important part of their daily lives. For all its definitions and purposes, the activity of business travel lacks a comprehensive global description and set of metrics from which travel managers, suppliers, and facilitators can plan for the future. In 2009, the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) Foundation embraced this challenge by sponsoring a first-ever study of global business travel activity.
The result was an exhaustive study of business travel spending, productivity, and growth that covered 72 countries across 48 industries over fifteen years, including a rolling 5-year projection. In 2010 and 2011, the study was enhanced and updated. New countries were added (now 75 in total), key spending categories were broken out, domestic and international outbound travel was separated, and projections were refreshed.
For 2013, the GBTA Foundation and its research sponsor, Visa Inc., have commissioned Rockport Analytics to once again update the study, projections and companion database. Given the significant global economic and market challenges that remain some four years after the Great Recession, tracking economic progress and keeping a watchful eye on business travel performance remains paramount.