Intelligent budget forecasting

Do you know which of your business travelers cost you the most each year? In 2016, Concur developed a State of Business Travel report that shed light on the patterns of 6 different types of business travelers, from the neophyte who’s just happy to be asked to go on a trip, to the road warrior who spends 30 percent or more of her time traveling for business.

Intelligent budget forecasting stems from being aware of traveler behavior and setting budget expectations, accordingly. By taking Concur user data, focus groups, usability studies, site visits and research, Concur is able to identify and break down different professional roles within a company   to develop personas with different travel and expense patterns. These personas help serve as a tool to help you optimize your 2017 travel and spend policies – to not only more accurately forecast spend, but also to help improve your bottom line.


Data shows that workers travel differently

The report illustrates that business travelers aren’t all cut from the same cloth—they have different needs and priorities when they’re on the road, and they spend funds differently. For instance, Jeremy, a senior executive, travels around 27 times per year and prioritizes a smooth, trouble-free voyage and a comfortable experience, rather than sticking to a budget. His assistant will file his expense reports, and he’s not concerned about violating travel policy as he’s an expert. His concerns lean more toward ensuring that he is always connected and that he can impress clients with high-end experiences, so that he can achieve the business goals for his trip.


Meanwhile, Hannah, a millennial working in high tech, might travel 5 times per year and tolerates trip disruptions well—she’s just happy to be there. Unlike Jeremy, she is afraid she’ll violate travel policy, and doesn’t have much experience with the reimbursement process. She’ll file her expense report herself, and she’ll probably put it off until the deadline.


Take a look at the six business traveler personas to discover which personas you employ:

Understanding that the Hannah travelers of the world account for 16 percent of the user population, while the Jeremy travelers of the world only account for 4 percent—but that they spend almost the same portion of your travel budget—can help you understand where budget money is being spent. For example Jeremy spends 19 percent of the budget, in comparison to Hannah’s 21 percent. Take a look at the below chart to see which personas are spending the money:

Being able to quickly analyze employee travel and expense patterns can help you identify the personas within your organization – which leads to smart expense forecasting. More than that, though, it’s important to see the ‘big picture’ of finances to deduce where money is going. Data from expenses provides an excellent picture of expenses to help with budgeting estimates.


Expense data helps travel managers design an informed travel policy

Informed expense data can help you strategically forecast budgeting – and can also help you anticipate employee spending surprises. Expectations ground businesses to properly predict and anticipate traveler behavior, not to mention create budget control. 

Here are some interesting facts from the Concur State of Business Travel report to ponder:

• In 2015, Concur’s 40 million users expensed $76 billion, paying for 46 million flights, 74 million hotel nights, $11.8 billion for dining and entertainment, and $9.5 billion on ground travel.

• The busiest day for expense reports in 2015 was November 30th, when more than half a million reports were filed.

• The single most expensive car rental expensed in 2015 was $31,082 in Tulsa, OK, and the most expensive ride sharing transaction took place in New York, NY and cost $27,244.

The report can also help you estimate the cost of a trip to one of the major metropolitan cities in the world. Having this information allows you to design an intelligent per-diem or T&E policy based on actual costs as experienced by Concur customers. For instance, in 2015, here’s where business travelers went the most:

And here’s how much money they spent on hotels in those cities:

Data like this makes it easier to estimate and anticipate trip costs. For instance, you can estimate how much it might cost to send Hannah to Shanghai for 3 nights by building an estimate based on average flight cost per mile, average nightly hotel cost, average meal cost, and average ground transportation cost.

The Concur State of Business Travel report offers employee expense information, by persona, for every cost accrued during business travel, from flights and lodging to meals and ground transportation. Basically, you can estimate the cost of Jeremy’s trip—or any other persona—by figuring out the average flight cost per mile, nightly hotel cost, meal cost, and ground transportation costs. User behavior and expenses accrued data provides an overview of cost expectations to help set your business up for budgeting success.


Smart Forecasting for 2017

As shown in the report, business travelers are not the same – their spending and traveling behaviors and priorities vary dramatically. Understanding your business travelers is the key to forecasting your travel budget, and integrating your travel and expense ecosystems can help you successfully meet today’s budgeting and travel challenges.

The Concur State of Business Travel report offers intelligent traveler insight, based off real employee spending data, to help you optimize your business travel and meet your budget goals. Set your 2017 travel budget forecasting up for success and learn more today.


You can download the report here .


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