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Travel & Expense

Battle of the Sexes: Business Travel Edition

on December 21, 2016

In 2017, most road warriors expect to travel for business about the same amount as they did this year, which is good for business. Business travel improves productivity through new sales, customer retention and knowledge sharing. In fact, for every dollar invested in business travel, companies generate an average of $9.5 in revenue and $2.9 in profit.

Who is getting out on the road next year? Interestingly, demand for business travel is independent of gender with a near even split of male and female business travelers. But male and female business travelers are not the same. We’ve all heard it before: men are from Mars, women are from Venus— stereotypes aside, men and women do differ in their business travel habits.

By understanding the differences between male and female road warriors, corporate travel managers and T&E program managers can improve not only their travelers’ experience and productivity but also compliance with travel policy. So, what exactly are the differences?

1.     Men are more likely to travel alone.

According to a Fairfield Inn & Suites survey, 63 percent of male business travelers say they often travel alone compared to 48 percent of women. What’s more, when choosing travel perks a National Car Rental survey found 49 percent of female business travelers would choose covered expenses for their spouse/significant other compared to 29 percent of men. 

2.     Women are more stressed on business trips than men.

Women perceive significantly more stress intensity than men on almost every travel anxiety factor in a study conducted by HEC and CWT Solutions. Lost or delayed luggage and poor internet connections are the most stressful factors for women. Men are more stressed by flying economy class on medium or long haul flights; 35 percent of men would choose first class air travel as their business travel perk, compared to 25 percent of women.

3.     Men book business flights later than women.

Research from CWT Solutions found that on average women buy their business flights two days earlier than men. This may be due to an attempt to offset their anticipated higher stress levels while traveling. Women save about 2 percent of the average ticket price, which adds up—the study found that for a multi-national company with 21,000 travelers, those two extra booking days can yield $1 million in savings.

4.     Female business travelers are more likely to order room service.

While nearly half of business travelers reward themselves on the road by sampling local cuisine, a Skift Report found that women are more likely to order room service.

5.     Women extend their business trips for leisure more than men.

Forty-one percent of female business travelers extend their business trips for leisure travel compared to 34 percent of men. So-called bleisure travel, which blurs the lines of business and leisure travel, is increasingly popular and can lead to travel policy misuse and abuse. Learn more about bleisure travel in this infographic.

What does all of this mean for corporate travel managers and expense program managers?

T&E program managers need to focus on the things they can control. Here are a few tips:

  • Spell out who pays for what and when. To protect your company from waste and misuse, your travel policy needs to clearly outline expectations for when travel should be booked and who foots the bill for types of expenses, especially when travel companion expenses are in play.
  • Understand what is normal for your travelers. When you know what’s normal, you can spot expenses that are out of balance for certain travelers.
  • Watch for lodging and meal outliers. Abnormally high room service charges could mean the company is footing the bill for companion meals.

Check out our white paper: 6 Tips to Reduce T&E Waste for more guidelines to better manage T&E spend in your company.

Jessica Kirk

Jessica Kirk is Vice President of Marketing at Oversight and contributes to our blog.