Traveling for business is not always easy. It can cause a lot of anxiety for the traveler: feelings of guilt for traveling away from the family, unfamiliar surroundings, time management, and safety concerns. It is important to listen to your travelers to keep them happy and satisfied and in the corporate world of travel, 2017 was the year where companies became more invested with their employees’ well-being and needs.
In the most recent edition of Business Travel News titled, Voice of the Traveler, the publication measured business travelers’ satisfaction with their travel programs to learn more about what travelers want and need when they are on the road. They identified the five most important trip factors based on the number of trips a business traveler takes per year and found the following to be true:
- Access to reliable Internet & data connections
- Access to travel-disruption support
- Convenient flight times, hotel locations, etc.
- Ease of expense reporting
- Personal safety support
Now that you know what travelers prefer, here are some resources to help you understand your traveler’s satisfaction levels. We know that travel managers have multiple audiences, with differing needs, that they work to fulfill – both travelers and business decision makers – so it is important to take both into account when setting out your roadmap to success.
For example, some finance and procurement departments require a direct link between traveler satisfaction and retention or productivity; leaving its value only equivalent to cost. Carol Velasquez, AVP Procurement at Macerich, acknowledges that establishing traveler-friendly policies requires securing executives’ affirmation and shared how she approached this sell-in with her C-suite.
You can create your own story and better convince the C-suite that it is traveler satisfaction that delivers retention, productivity, and therefore cost savings, by downloading this customizable PowerPoint template.
Personalization through technology
Once you have your C-suite on board, then you want to ensure you have a good understanding of your traveler. Personalization is a key element towards increasing traveler satisfaction. Travelers want to see relevant options when booking their travel, across any device. Business travelers expect past booking behaviors to shape and influence their booking and travel plans. For options and the most effective personalization, you will need technology to understand the context around user behavior as it happens. Imagine landing in an unknown city and being able to immediately know what ground transportation, ride sharing, walking or public transportation, would be fastest, cheapest and in-policy.
Relevant choices can be equally as important to a business’s bottom line, as it is to travelers’ satisfaction. There can be significant time savings and reduced frustration from finding a hotel or travel option that fulfills the wants and needs of an individual traveler, quickly. A business traveler having readily available access to options that suit their desires can also improve the likelihood they’ll book in-policy.
You can check out the travelers’ hierarchy of need to learn how personalized travel programs can make your business traveler feel valued and satisfied. The happier travelers are with the tools, services and support systems their companies provide, the more they will engage with the programs.
Business + leisure = Traveler satisfaction
A recent study from Expedia Media Solutions, the “Profile of the American Bleisure Traveler,” found that 43 percent of all business trips are extended to become bleisure trips. Bleisure is a term used to define business travelers who mix leisure with business. Business travel today is more about the experience, and getting the most out of the trip. So why not stay a couple of days longer, and bring the family along to enjoy that experience together? Bleisure travel can also help relieve some of the anxiety travelers experience while traveling for business.
In an era of global uncertainty, many business travelers might not feel safe while traveling. Because of this uncertainty, both travel managers and travel management companies have increased their attention to their duty of care to those on the road. Nowadays, it is important to discuss concerns your travelers might have, educate them on practices and policies, and provide them with the right technological tools to help them manage their trips. Click here to download and customize this health and safety checklist to ensure your travelers’ safety and well-being!
Remember, it is essential to treat business travelers as individuals with diverse needs and wants. Doing so will lead to an improved travel experience, increased compliance to policies and result in happy, satisfied travelers.