A poll of business travelers from four major
economies commissioned by Marriott Hotels & Resorts indicates that
2010 may be shaping up as a year of transition from economic
pessimism to greater confidence. More than 60% of 1,207
respondents in four countries agree that business travel is
essential; 75% of Chinese plan to travel more. Key survey
• Approximately one-third of business travelers
polled in the U.S. (35%), UK (33%), and Germany (33%) think their
economies will improve. Another third – U.S. (36%), U.K. (37%),
and Germany (35%) – believe things have leveled off economically
and will stay the same. About three in 10 – U.S. (29%), U.K.
(30%), and Germany (33%) – forecast their national economy will
get worse. China is the exception, with 81% of responders saying
their economy will improve.
• In China, only 13% fear job loss
in the coming year, versus 39% in the U.K., 34% in Germany, and
29% in the U.S. Once their economies improve, 66% of business
travelers in China, 51% in the U.K., 40% in the U.S., and 39% in
Germany plan to seek new jobs.
• Although affected by a lack of
jobs, millennials (referred to in the survey as Generation Y),
ages 21-29, in the U.S. and U.K. express greater optimism about
the economy than their older colleagues. Millennials in the U.S.,
U.K., and Germany also foresee more business trips in the coming
year than their Baby Boomer counterparts.
• Most responders in
all four countries say business travel gives their companies and
their careers a competitive edge. More than nine in 10 agree
business travel is important to achieve business goals, reaching a
high of 96% among the Chinese. U.S. responders are most likely to
say (82%), travel provides critical face-to-face time with clients
and customers, followed by 77% in Germany, 74% in China, and 72%
in the U.K.
• Business travelers predicting more travel next
year: U.S. (22%), U.K. (20%), Germany (20%) and China (63%).
These are findings from “Global Business Trends in the Third
Millennium”, a Marist Institute for Public Opinion
poll of 1,207 business travelers in the U.S., China, Germany and
the U.K. The study examines trends in the economy, business
travel, career and personal goals, and generational and cultural
“The findings mirror indications of the
economic recovery in our hotels across the globe, where we are
seeing improvement in corporate travel reflecting pent-up demand
after two years of cutbacks,” said Don Semmler, executive vice
president, global full-service brands for Marriott International.
““With nearly 500 hotels in 60 countries, Marriott Hotels &
Resorts has tremendous insight and 50 years’ experience serving
business travelers. This survey spots cultural and generational
trends that endorse our continued efforts to address work-life
balance on the road; spaces that facilitate work, social
interaction and relaxation; and to lead in the area of
Additional Survey Highlights:
• Challenging times for many: Chinese
business travelers are more than twice as optimistic (81%) about
their national economy as their counterparts in the U.S. (35%),
Germany (33%), and the U.K. (33%).
• Job security: About
two-thirds of Chinese responders, 51% in the U.K., 40% in the
U.S., and 39% of Germans expect to look for new job opportunities
when their respective economies improve.
• Spending less:
Companies have reduced some spending on business travel in all
four countries. More than four in 10 responders in the U.S. (44%)
and U.K. (43%), and about three in 10 in China (31%), and Germany
(29%) report their companies have cut back on spending for business travel in the past year.
• Younger business travelers have a brighter outlook: Although
affected by a lack of jobs, the millennial generation in the U.S.
and U.K. express greater optimism about the economy than their
older colleagues. Millennials in the U.S., U.K., and Germany also
foresee more business trips in the coming year than their Baby
Boomer counterparts: China (92%0, U.S. (76%), Germany (72%), and
• Crossing Generations: A plurality of respondents
in the U.S. and U.K. describe colleagues one generation younger
than themselves as “allies” and “frustrating”, while in China and
Germany, younger colleagues are “motivating” and “inspiring.”
Business travelers in general have a positive view of older
colleagues, calling them “motivating”, “allies” and “inspiring”.
• Technology complements business travel: Adapting to emerging
technology remains a challenge for today’s business travelers
irrespective of their country of origin. Generation Y is just as
likely to value business travel; but in the U.S. and Europe, this
group is more inclined to think technological advances can replace
some business trips.
• Giving it
their best: About six in 10 U.S. and European business travelers
are satisfied with a good effort, even if they don’t beat out the
competition. But in China, 62% think second best is not enough.
• Work-related travel creates an edge in business: Nearly all
business travelers – more than nine in 10 – agree travel is
important to achieve their business goals, reaching a high of 96%
among the Chinese. U.S. responders are the most positive – 82% --
about the critical value of face-to-face client contacts; 77% of
German responders, 74% of Chinese business travelers, and 72% in
the U.K. agree.
• In it for the team: When asked to describe
themselves at work, 50% of U.S. responders say they are
“resourceful,” while Germans are most likely (67%) to consider
themselves team players. Being a “team player” and “loyal” are
considered defining terms for nearly half the Chinese responders,
while in the U.K., although 46% also describe themselves as team
players, nearly four in 10 define themselves as “loyal,”
“confident,” “resourceful,” and “determined.”
Leisure Travel – All Work and No Play?
• Going for glamour:
On a personal satisfaction level, the term “glamorous” is used by
strong majorities in all countries to characterize business
travel. Many in China (68%) and the U.S. (54%) also describe it as
• The benefits of business travel: Business trips
help respondents to: better understand clients (89% in the U.S.
and U.K., 96% in China, 87% in Germany), exploring new places (88%
in the U.S., 82% in the U.K., 91 % in China,72% in Germany),
learning global values and perspectives (74% in the U.S., 79% in
the U.K., 91% in China, 77% in Germany), competitive edge (80% in
the U.S., 78% in the U.K., 87% in China, 75 % in Germany). More
than 60% of business travelers in all four countries agree that
work-related trips and destinations give them status among friends
and colleagues. China has the largest percentage – 75% -- who feel
• Business Trip Expectations: Business travelers
predicting more travel next year: U.S.(22%), U.K. (26%), Germany
(20%) and China (63%); staying the same U.S.(54%), U.K. (45%),
Germany (52%) and China (29%); less travel U.S.(25%), U.K. (29%),
Germany (28%) and China (8%).
Respondents describing leisure travel as a necessity vs. a luxury:
U.S. (50%), U.K. (52%), China (56%) and Germany (45%); as a time
to de-stress: U.S. (38%), U.K. (38%), China (42%) and Germany
(42%); as a time to spend with family, friends and loved ones:
U.S. (38%), U.K. (37%), China (49%) and Germany (27%); to be
adventurous, let loose: U.S. (20%), U.K. (20%), China (6%) and
Germany (23%); something I do for others, I’d rather stay home:
U.S. (4%), U.K. (5%), China (3%) and Germany (8%).
and no play? A majority of business travelers report they are able
to balance work and leisure activities successfully while on
• Travel etiquette: Top etiquette priorities
vary across the cultures polled: 28% of U.S. business travelers
name proper cell-phone etiquette as their highest priority; 29% of
responders from the U.K. identify respect toward flight or hotel
staff; 33% of Chinese responders list how to sense when it is a
good or bad time to make small talk with fellow travelers; and for
Germans, the top priority, at 28%, is reducing the sound of a
television or conversation carrying from a hotel room.
• Green is beautiful: Eco-friendly accommodations are
considered a necessity by a majority of respondents across all
four cultures, but especially in China, where 83% of business
travelers indicate a hotel’s sustainability efforts are important.
This consideration is important to 51% of those polled from the
U.S., 61% from the U.K., and 75% from Germany.
The online survey of 1,207 business travelers was conducted by The
Marist Institute for Public Opinion in March and April 2010.
Responders were selected from members of an online research panel
through Opinion Search Inc., an Internet hosting and sample
management company. Quotas for gender and age were maintained in
each country. 303 U.S. residents, 300 people living in the United
Kingdom, 303 in China, and 301 in Germany were polled. Roughly
one-third (at least 100) of respondents from each country fell
into each of three age categories: 21-29 (Generation Y/Millennials),
30-45 (generation X), and 46-64 (Baby Boomers). For this survey,
business travelers are defined as employed residents of one of the
four countries of interest, ages 21 to 64, who have taken at least
one business trip requiring an overnight stay in the past 12
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