A staggering 79 percent of UK workers who travelled for business in 2023 encountered disruptions, according to new data released by global travel management platform TravelPerk.

The study, based on a survey of 4,000 business travellers from the UK, US, Germany, and Spain, sheds light on the challenges faced by business travellers and how they adapt to the evolving landscape of travel disruptions.

The most common disruptions reported by UK business travellers were major delays of over one hour, affecting 36 percent of respondents.

Additionally, 30 percent experienced trip cancellations, 28 percent were impacted by transportation strikes, and 21 percent faced difficulties due to adverse weather conditions.

Following a year marked by significant rail disruptions in the UK, estimated to have cost the economy £700 million, it is not surprising that UK business travelers were twice as likely to be affected by transportation strikes compared to their counterparts in the US.

The figures stood at 28 percent for UK travellers, 14 percent for US travellers, 17 percent for Spain, and 21 percent for Germany.

“More than just an inconvenience”

Yasmine Bratt, Chief Revenue Officer of TravelPerk, emphasised the critical role of business travel in the success of companies, stating, “Although disruptions during any journey are an inevitable part of travel, for people traveling to fulfil work duties, it’s more than just an inconvenience – it can impact the outcome of the trip and the performance of their companies.”

To adapt to the increased travel uncertainty, 91 percent of UK workers adjusted their travel habits. This includes measures such as allowing more time to reach their destination (32%), checking for updates more frequently (40%), researching health and safety risks more thoroughly (22%), and considering different modes of transportation (27%).

When it comes to resolving problems and seeking customer care, the preference for human interaction is evident. A majority of UK business travellers (29%) prefer speaking to a human agent on the phone, while only 9 percent opt for AI-driven chatbots. Online self-service is also popular, with 26 percent choosing this option.

The travel industry must come together

Yasmine Bratt highlighted the challenges faced by UK business travellers and called for collaboration within the travel industry to ensure more reliable journeys. “It’s not right to put the onus on the traveller to make backup plans so that they can make it on time. The travel industry must come together to help business travellers have more reliable journeys in every way that they can.”

In response to the travel chaos, TravelPerk offered some top tips for dealing with disruptions, including being flexible, using business-specific mobile apps, considering alternate destinations for meetings, and booking and arriving early whenever possible.

As business travel continues to play a vital role in professional engagements, the resilience and adaptability of travellers become crucial in navigating the ever-changing landscape of disruptions.

 

 

 

 

Avatar

Amelia Brand is the Editor for HRreview, and host of the HR in Review podcast series. With a Master’s degree in Legal and Political Theory, her particular interests within HR include employment law, DE&I, and wellbeing within the workplace. Prior to working with HRreview, Amelia was Sub-Editor of a magazine, and Editor of the Environmental Justice Project at University College London, writing and overseeing articles into UCL’s weekly newsletter. Her previous academic work has focused on philosophy, politics and law, with a special focus on how artificial intelligence will feature in the future.