LONDON, UK, SEATTLE, US: A survey of 500 finance professionals across the UK and US has revealed the impact of recent political developments on organisations’ sales growth and investment in travel. Research shows 40% of organisations have seen a slowing of their sales pipeline since Brexit, with a further 32% reported as remaining static.
The survey was conducted by SalesTrip, the travel booking and expense management system that combines business travel, expense and operational data to demonstrate the impact of travel costs on company revenues.
In the run up to a potential Brexit, 62% foresee a need to cut back on company costs such as business travel. With 49% of organisations already reporting they have implemented a company-wide travel ban as a result, this company measure looks set to increase – despite 60% believing spend on travel is necessary for revenue and business growth.
In the US, other political dynamics are affecting corporate travel, with 50% of organisations having seen more restrictions to their employees’ travel since President Trump came into office, and 50% reporting an increase in ‘no-go’ destinations. 43% have also seen an increase in travel-related admin and experienced more difficulties in obtaining visas for non-US citizen employees entering the US (36%).
“Organisations clearly need more certainty in these times of dramatic political change, and accurate data and visibility across their entire business is critical for leaders to keep the ship steady through uncharted waters, no matter the forces beyond their control,” said Manoj Ganapathy, CEO and Founder of SalesTrip.
Ganapathy continued: “With most organisations now selling globally, we’re seeing a great demand for visibility of all travel data alongside customer and revenue data to easily understand where investment in travel reaps the most return for business, no matter what the political imperatives are.”
In the UK, 73% think that travel bans would be a thing of the past if they could better forecast business travel and expense spend. Being able to better manage and forecast spend will empower organisations to control costs throughout the year and remove the need for restrictive travel bans that ground sales teams and limit growth.
On top of this, businesses are struggling to justify ongoing investment with 39% of all UK and US companies reporting that business travel and expense costs are uncontrollable and unpredictable rather than tangibly contributing to business growth. Only 30% of businesses believe they can ‘very accurately’ forecast travel and expense spend and almost half (48%) of organisations don’t have visibility of business travel and expense spend against ROI, which would help counter wider political uncertainty and changes in government policy and regulation.
Commenting on the impact of Brexit in the context of the business travel industry, Ganapathy added: “There is no suggestion that the UK is expected to lose its position as an established global centre of commerce but as a result of Brexit, we are experiencing a precautionary, but temporary, sales slowdown. After Brexit, we can expect to see companies beginning to open up additional locations in Europe outside of the UK - the inevitable need for additional travel that this will create spells good news for the global business travel industry in the long term.”