September 28, 2021

S’pore and M’sia business execs view travel dearth as detrimental to jobs, personal lives: survey

Article attributed to Michelle Zhu from The Business Times | 30 August 2021

Despite business travellers’ eagerness to return to the skies, whether they do so or not would largely depend on their confidence in company travel policies.

Michelle Zhu, The Business Times

According to study commissioned by American software-as-a-service provider SAP Concur, business travelers from Singapore and Malaysia are eager to get back on the road because they fear “severe consequences” if they don’t.

A total of 200 business travelers from Singapore and Malaysia were questioned globally, representing the South-east Asia region.

Wakefield Research, an independent research firm, released a white paper on South-east Asia business travelers on Tuesday, stating that a “overwhelming” 98 percent of people surveyed in the region were willing to travel in the next 12 months.

This is due to a widespread assumption that individuals will “suffer” if their businesses do not boost business travel in the coming year, with 87 percent of respondents in the region fearing that the current lack of travel will harm them personally, compared to 80 percent worldwide.

The report noted that Singapore and Malaysia’s business travellers are also highly likely to worry about making less money (50 per cent), as well as face difficulties developing and maintaining business connections (49 per cent) due to the inability to increase business travel.

With 28% of respondents fearing losing their jobs, South-east Asia is tied with South Africa and Denmark as the second-most anxious of all markets, after only Brazil (35%).

The idea of not increasing travel is intrinsically related to negative outcomes for the majority of South-east Asian travelers (89%). Concerns include fewer transactions being signed (48 percent against 37 percent globally) and fewer contract renewals (44 per cent versus 34 per cent globally).

More over a third of respondents in Singapore and Malaysia (36%) believe their companies will have trouble keeping personnel, compared to 22% globally, and 15% believe their enterprises will shut down entirely.

In its press statement issued Tuesday by SAP Concur, the company said such “grave concerns” reveal perceptions that business travel is a “vital vehicle to strengthen business relationships for career success, and experience new places to broaden personal horizons”.

The report also highlighted flexibility as a top driver for South-east Asia’s business travellers, of which 83 per cent ranked it as a top consideration for travel compared to 62 per cent globally.

It noted that South-east Asian travellers appear particularly interested in being able to book their trips (55 per cent versus 39 per cent globally) as well as deciding how long the trip will be (50 per cent, compared to 39 per cent globally).

“Employees are ready to return to business travel, but on their own terms,” said Carl Jones, vice-president and head of strategy for SAP Concur Asia Pacific.

“The actions that businesses take in the next 12 months to protect traveller safety and health could make or break their ability to acquire and retain valuable employees amid a competitive market for talent.

Read the full article here.