BUSINESS travellers from Singapore and Malaysia are raring to return to the road as they fear they will face “extreme consequences” otherwise, according to research commissioned by American software-as-a-service company SAP Concur.
Out of the 3,850 business travellers surveyed globally, 200 were from Singapore and Malaysia and were representative of the South-east Asia region.
In a white paper issued specifically on South-east Asia business travellers on Tuesday, independent research provider Wakefield Research highlighted that an “overwhelming” 98 per cent of those surveyed in the region were willing to travel in the next 12 months.
This is driven by a general belief that they would “suffer” if their companies did not increase business travel in the next year – with 87 per cent of the region’s respondents concerned that the current dearth of travel might affect them personally, compared to 80 per cent globally.
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.
Some 28 per cent of respondents fear the consequence of losing their jobs, tying South-east Asia with South Africa and Denmark as the second-most concerned of all markets, behind Brazil at 35 per cent.
To the majority 89 per cent of South-east Asia travellers, the notion of not increasing travel is inextricably linked to negative consequences. Worries include signing fewer deals (48 per cent compared to 37 per cent globally) as well as fewer contract renewals (44 per cent versus 34 per cent globally).
More than a third, or 36 per cent, of respondents in Singapore and Malaysia predict their companies will face difficulty retaining employees compared to 22 per cent globally – while 15 per cent think their businesses would shut down completely.
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.