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Business travellers spending big on food

Travel meal at the airport

How much are Aussie workers spending on food while away on work trips? A new poll by Airbnb has some surprising findings on the degree to which these costs are racking up for employers.

In research commissioned by the tech company, and conducted by Pureprofile, 1,000 Australians were asked in October 2019 about their eating habits while travelling for work.

More than a third (38 per cent) confessed to spending between $50 and $100 per meal while away on business, while less than two-thirds (60 per cent) said their typical meal bill would fall below $50.

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That could equate to as much as $400 for a single overnight stay (assuming a dinner, a breakfast and two lunches).

And, perhaps more understandably when staying in hotel rooms with limited facilities, 38 per cent would eat out up to three times a day.

Airbnb said that, in light of these figures, SMEs could be saving thousands of dollars a year simply by ensuring that employees stay in accommodation with kitchen facilities.

Indeed, full-service kitchen facilities were ranked as the second most sought-after amenity for Aussie business travellers, second only to WI-FI connection.

And, it said, convincing employees to use such kitchen facilities would not be a hard sell, given that 98 per cent would like more “home comforts” while travelling, including either the ability to cook their own meals or at least reheat food.

Furthermore, it found that 56 per cent would prefer to eat healthier while travelling but find themselves more reliant on take-out food because of a lack of cooking facilities.

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“We’ve particularly noticed a big spike in health-conscious younger business travellers using Airbnb for business travel,” said Alvan Aiau Yong, regional head of Airbnb for Work.

Other key findings

The survey also found some interesting trends in the types of foods workers crave while travelling — again indicative of a penchant for healthier options.

Roast chicken is the most favoured option by one in four business travellers, followed closely by any type of “meat and three vegetables” (22 per cent).

Other popular meal tastes when travelling are grilled fish with salad (18 per cent), fresh salad (13 per cent) and homemade spaghetti bolognese (12.5 per cent).

Despite this, more than one in three (37 per cent) reported that they eat out more often when travelling for work than they would at home.

And 23 per cent confessed to making poor food choices when travelling, largely by placing convenience over health.

Similar findings were revealed in September this year by travel management platform CWT, although it polled 100 business travellers from 27 different countries, including Australia, suggesting that the trend is more widespread than just for Aussies.

Adam Zuchetti

Adam Zuchetti

Adam Zuchetti is the editor of My Business, and has steered the publication’s editorial direction since early 2016. 

The two-time Publish Awards finalist has an extensive journalistic career across business, property and finance, including a four-year stint in the UK. Email Adam at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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