New research reveals that UK employees make fewer business trips than their European counterparts and are also the least likely to consider travel as a perk of their job.
The survey data collected by Enterprise Rent-A-Car and National Car Rental shows that only around a third (32 per cent) travel for business, compared to 36 per cent in France, 38 per cent in Germany, 45 per cent in Spain and 44 per cent in the Republic of Ireland.
Equally, only 35 per cent of British employees see travelling for business as a possible perk of their job – far fewer than the half of travellers in France and the 46 per cent in Germany.
When asked about their preferred mode of transportation, the car was named as the top choice across the board. One in five Europeans have rented or borrowed a car while travelling for work, saying it helped them enjoy local sights more easily.
Cars were more popular for shorter trips, with 73 per cent using a vehicle for journeys of under 50 miles, compared to 39 per cent who drive for longer trips of 150 miles.
Meanwhile, one in five choose public transport for shorter trips and one in nine use it for longer journeys.
However, one in six UK business travellers say there is nothing they like about work trips – twice as many as those who feel the same in France and Spain.
In fact, 12 per cent of Brits say they choose a job specifically because it does not require business travel, compared to just 4 per cent in Spain, 6 per cent in Germany and 7 per cent in France.
British respondents are also the least likely to combine leisure stays with a business trip, with only 37 per cent saying they will go shopping during business travel. A meagre 27 per cent allow time for sight-seeing and only one in five have extended a work trip into a long weekend or holiday.
Despite such differences among European travellers, there was a consensus among those surveyed that business travel provides an opportunity to see new countries and places (39 per cent), to have expenses covered by their employer (33 per cent), to stay in nice hotels (28 per cent) and to eat and drink out every night (19 per cent).
Around one in seven say business trips give them ‘me time’ away from their family.
However, respondents also highlighted the downsides to travel, including working long hours (32 per cent), being away from home (28 per cent) and having to live out of a suitcase (21 per cent). One in five also said business travel makes them feel isolated.
David McNeill, AVP corporate sales EMEA for Enterprise and National, commented: “Travelling for work is a part of life for many people across Europe. Many see this as a perk and take advantage of the potential to blur the lines between business and leisure, bringing some fun into a work trip. Equally, there can sometimes be downsides such as long hours and a sense of isolation.
“Businesses can help by ensuring employees feel supported through business travel. One way to do this is by making sure that transport is available with speed and convenience. Master rental agreements and express lanes allow travellers to bypass the car hire counter and just pick up their vehicle directly, knowing that all their preferences have been respected and their needs met.
“The right transportation can help to reduce the stress of being alone in an unfamiliar place. It can also facilitate that all-important ‘down time’. In addition, activities such as going shopping or visiting a local sight could easily enhance the business travel experience.”