The journey may be part of the adventure for leisure travelers, but around 60% of business travelers find time spent in transit irritating, and nearly half find layovers draining, according to a new study by the Global Business Travel Association.
The study, conducted in partnership with Sabre, aims to identify areas for improvement in the journey that technology might better address.
The “Improving the Traveller Experience” study looks into the key pain-points of travel for business travelers and how these vary by region around the world from North America to Latin America, Asia Pacific and Europe.
The study is based on the results of an online survey of business travelers as well as in-depth interviews with travel buyers, travel management companies, and human resource personnel in each of the four key regions.
While the results vary by region, one common thread of irritation around the globe is time wasted.
Michael W. McCormick, GBTA executive director and COO says:
“Ultimately those who travel want to save time when possible, be productive and have a pleasant experience while accomplishing their business goals. A better understanding of the challenges business travelers face can help organizations better serve their road warriors as they work to provide the right tools, resources and policies.”
Wade Jones, executive vice president and president, Sabre Travel Network adds:
“With advances in technology, corporate travelers are plugged in and connected more than ever before. While the technology is out there, this report demonstrates that we still have work do to make corporate travel more seamless, reducing the number of apps and tools needed to organize their trip, while also optimizing compliance and reducing costs.”
One critical element of the report is the indirect impact of companies of travel-related malaise.
GBTA says that 83% of business travelers say their business travel experience impacts their overall job satisfaction “at least somewhat”.
Among Millennials, 88% say their travel experience has some effect on their job satisfaction.
In Germany, 47% of business travelers say that their travel experience influences job satisfaction “to a great extent” and 50% of Spanish business travelers agree.
An additional 83% of travelers in Europe say that their business travel experience impacts their business results “at least somewhat.”
Correlations between travel experience and job satisfaction vary widely in Asia Pacific.
For example 31% of Japanese business travelers say that a company’s travel policy is an important factor in deciding to accept a new position, while 86% of Indian business travelers view corporate travel policy as an important determining factor for a new job.
A vast majority of Asian business travelers queried said business travel affects their job performance at least a little with approximately 42% of Asia Pacific travelers saying that it affects their job performance “a lot.”
In North America, 79% of business travelers say their travel experience impacts their job satisfaction “at least somewhat” and 59% say that a company’s travel policy is an important factor when considering accepting a new position.
Additionally, 84% of North Americans say the quality of their travel experience impacts their business results “at least somewhat.”
So, what to do to hire and retain the best, most productive and happy business travelers?
The results would suggest that booking direct flights or at least booking flights based on efficient flight schedules is one tactic which could improve traveller satisfaction.
Based on some of the perks these passengers select for themselves, employers might want to pay for a business class ticket, or a premium economy ticket, which offer greater passenger comfort, or otherwise arrange travel around productivity by selecting airlines or trains which offer wifi onboard.
There is also room to improve the technologies and logistics of travel.
Sabre’s Wade Jones says:
“It is critical we organize and align our resources to execute on integrating technology into a sustainable, data-rich platform that supports the business travel experience across the spectrum of planning and booking to reconciling expenses at the end of the journey.”
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