Business Travel Spend: How UK companies use their T&E budget

Travel and Expense (T&E) spending by businesses in all industries throughout the world has been rapidly increasing. Because of this exponential expansion, businesses are paying closer attention to how they spend their T&E budget and seeking ways to regulate and optimise it. We’ve chosen to delve further into British firms’ business travel spend and utilise our own data to see how they use their T&E budget.

The average length of a business trip

Do you have any idea how long most business trips take? Don’t worry if you don’t, because the true answer is: it depends. As each country has its own politics, laws and culture, each company has its own travel policy, which often affects the length of a business trip.  

While in some countries it’s common to have work trips that last 3 days, in the UK 76% of business travels are day trips. That’s a huge amount of the pie (almost ¾ of it), but if you take a look at the most visited destinations for UK companies, you can easily understand why.


Longer trips are very costly to companies


When you think about it, it includes more days of accommodation, on-ground transportation and per diem (or scale-rate payments as they are called in Britain).

Because of their higher budget, long trips are mostly avoided by all companies (not only in the UK) and are saved for extremely important negotiations and training that cannot be completed in a short period of time.


The most visited destinations for business trips

When looking at the top 20 destinations for business trips by British companies, it’s easy to understand why most trips only last one day: The top 3 destinations are on British soil. 

It doesn’t come as a surprise that a big part of business trips are within the United Kingdom, after all, we are talking about a kingdom with four countries: England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. 

A plane trip from London to Edinburgh, for example, only takes 1h35. Cambridge to Glasgow takes will only set you back around an hour and a half. When dealing with such short flights, it often makes sense to fly home on the same day. 

Jersey and Guernsey, two British islands off the coast of France, are also often visited by mainland Brits for business.  A flight from London to Jersey, for example, takes approximately 1h – this gives you more than enough time to have a face-to-face meeting and hop on a plane back home. 

Most commonly used airlines by UK business travellers

British Airways, Air France and Easyjet are the three most used airlines by British business travellers.  Out of these three, two of them (British Airways and Easyjet) are UK companies and offer plenty of national flights (including to the Channel Islands). 

You can do the math


Knowing that the 3 most visited destinations for business trips are within the UK, we can easily understand why these three companies are their favourites. British Airways and Easyjet are the only companies with direct flights to Jersey, for example. British Airways is the biggest UK airline in terms of aeroplanes and the second largest one when it comes to the number of passengers, only behind Easyjet. It’s easy to see right?

Air France, although not British, has more than 1200 flights departing from 12 different airports across the UK, according to the company’s website. This means you can go anywhere in the world from airports around the United Kingdom. 

How are UK travellers commuting while on a business trip

Train, tram, underground (or the tube as our British friends call it), bus, taxis…There are so many ways to commute while on a business trip. We analyzed our data for the last 4 years, divided into quarters to see the growth of one kind of transportation that caught our attention: Uber.  

There’s no need for a long explanation about what Uber is and why it’s a genius solution: a simple app that connects drivers with riders, to give them a solution to get from point A to point B. It’s simple: tap a button and get a ride. 


Simple, Practical, and Comfortable


The simplicity, practicality, and comfort made Uber a growing choice among professionals. If you look at our graphic below, you can see that Uber has become more and more popular among executives over the last 4 years and this growth is not about to slow down anytime soon. 

It’s even likely that after COVID-19, companies will recommend Uber rides more often, in order to avoid their employees using public transport. But let’s stay realistic. Most T&E Policies strongly advise their employees to go for the cheapest and most reasonable option available in order to optimize the company’s business travel spend. However, the relationship between Uber and Business Travelers is definitely something to keep an eye on.


Another major benefit of Uber?


Well, they happen to have an integration with Rydoo – so once an Uber ride is finished, a line of the expense will automatically be created in the Rydoo app. Fast, efficient, and simple – just like Rydoo and Uber.

How are UK companies spending their Travel and Expense budget?

Travel and Expense budget is considered the third biggest expenditure of mid-size & large companies. It won’t surprise anyone that companies are heavily investing in mechanisms to control their T&E spending: automating their T&E policy, using expense management software, and using corporate credit cards.  


It’s interesting to see how UK companies have spent their T&E budget over the years


Over ¾ of the expenditures issued on behalf of British companies are for expenses under 50 EUR. Uber rides, train tickets, meals… Small daily costs don’t seem so small anymore when we realize that they add up quickly to the highest of all T&E costs. 

We can also see that the percentage of expenses < 50EUR is only growing over the years. While in 2016, it represented 74,3% of the overall spending, it grew by 2,8% in 2019, rising to 77,10%. 

When it comes to business travel spend, British companies need to pay special attention to the fact that most expense fraud is committed within this group of expenses. Why? Because it often goes unnoticed by the human eye.


“Alright, but how can a fraudulent train ticket or overpriced dinner really affect my company’s profit?”


Well, a recent survey shows that in the US only, expense fraud costs over 2 billion USD yearly. , Long story short, don’t overlook these small expenses – they can be more dangerous than you think if you don’t have a good expense management process in place. 

Take control over your spend

Now that you got a 101 on British Business Travel Spend and learned how companies from the UK use their T&E budget, it’s time to have real-time insights on your company’s overall spending and make sure your T&E policy is being overseen, a top-notch expense management software like Rydoo is your best option. Book a call with one of our specialists and get a 101 on how we can help you to lead your business to the next level.