Business travel returns: 77% of Indian firms want to boost travel budgets 2023

The majority of Indian firms (67%) anticipate an increase in business travel in 2023, and 77% anticipate an increase in their travel expenditure in 2023 compared to 2022, as a result of the post-pandemic rebound in business travel across domestic and foreign markets.

The fact that 79% of Indian organizations questioned utilize business travel data analytics to aid with trip booking and expenditures demonstrates the importance of technology in the travel industry.

Similar to the technology industry as a whole, the travel technology business is always developing. In the post-pandemic era, 43% of polled financial decision-makers cited improved software for cost and travel management as a significant breakthrough.

Sixty-six percent of businesses (two-thirds) have accounts with third-party booking systems, which is the most frequent method for paying travel expenditures. Nonetheless, the majority of firms reported employing different ways, with 61% stating that employees are permitted to pay for their own costs and 57% stating that employees have access to a company credit card.

American Express, India commissioned the business travel and entertainment (T&E) study report titled “Revival of business travel: An India perspective” from the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr).

The poll was performed among more than 500 Indian firms in cities around India, with a particular focus on bigger businesses.

Major discoveries:

  • 53% of organizations said that somewhat more than half of their employees traveled internationally or domestically for business in H2 2022.
  • Government/public sector personnel are the most frequent travelers, followed by those in marketing, sales, real estate, professional services, and pharmaceuticals. 64% of government and public sector workers traveled internationally or domestically for business.
  • One of the factors impeding a full recovery of business travel is the increasing use of virtual meetings and events.
  • Attending, hosting, or presenting at conferences, seminars, or events was the primary reason cited by 41% of organizations for business travel.
  • Domestically, Mumbai was the most-visited city (50% of respondents), while the United States was the most-visited overseas location (44% of respondents).
  • In 2023, 77% of firms planned to raise their travel budgets.
  • Agriculture, manufacturing, construction, utilities, and engineering topped the list of businesses with the highest average travel expenses, at INR 70 lakhs per year.
  • 92% of organizations have a travel policy, while 6% are in the process of creating one. When asked what is covered in their travel policy, 46% of firms picked cost limitations for reservations, including hotels, flights, and ground transportation as the most important element.
  • In addition, 43% of financial decision-makers stated they provide unique exceptions or regulations for more expensive places in their policy document, and 43% said they include routes and approval procedures for trips that surpass ordinary restrictions.
  • Further Read: How India’s Unicorns are setting the bar for employee health benefits

Commenting on the survey results, Manish Kapoor, Vice President and Head, Global Commercial Services (GCS), American Express Banking Corp., India, stated, “The outlook for business travel in India is optimistic. Despite a brief drop in business travel over the previous two years, domestic travel has returned and nearly exceeded pre-pandemic levels. Moreover, international travel is gaining momentum, and we anticipate a prolonged rebound. With rising average ticket costs projected to persist over the medium term, Indian enterprises will investigate new technology and implement more cost-effective solutions.

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About the Author: Sanjh Vishwakarma

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