Ask any business traveler about their favorite travel apps and you’ll likely receive a wide range of responses. From advance boarding passes to updated flight itineraries, local weather conditions to the best dining options, expense management and even shared ride service apps like Uber and Lyft, business travelers are clearly focused on making their time on the road as productive and efficient as possible.
Of course, that productivity requires internet connectivity for a travelers’ mobile devices, which makes the issue of Wi-Fi access such an important one for business travelers today. As a frequent business traveler myself, I know how much I value suppliers that provide reliable Wi-Fi service to their clients, and the issue of connectivity is something that is factored into my selection of which supplier to use in many instances.
I’m not alone in that regard according to the most recent June 2016 edition of the “Business Traveler Sentiment Index™” published by the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA). The Index is based on a survey of more than 3,500 frequent business travelers from eight countries and seeks to understand how business travelers feel about their travel experiences and how those feelings affect their travel behaviors. According to the June report:
“Wi-Fi remains a linchpin of productive business trips. Three-quarters of business travelers say Wi-Fi is vital to being productive on the road. Business travelers are most satisfied with Wi-Fi availability and reliability in hotel rooms (84%), compared with airplanes (50%) and trains (48%). They also say not having access to reliable Wi-Fi is the most frustrating part of business trips (25%).”
- 25% Not having reliable access to Wi-Fi
- 19% Travel itself (getting from one place to another)
- 17% The expense reporting process
- 14% Booking and/or changing travel plans
- 12% Not receiving reimbursements in a timely manner
- 7% Being required to stay within your company’s travel policy
- 4% Nothing
- 2% Other
Fortunately, many travel industry suppliers are paying attention and taking steps to address these frustrations by providing faster and better access to Wi-Fi. Restaurants and hoteliers, who have always performed well in this area, continue to lead the way by expanding the availability of complimentary Wi-Fi throughout their restaurant and hotel portfolios in many instances. Most airlines are taking steps to broaden their Wi-Fi capabilities across their fleets and make it easier for passengers to access those services (often by allowing them to pay for the use of Wi-Fi service with frequent flyer miles rather than credit cards).
We expect these trends to continue and for business travelers to enjoy ever-increasing access to Wi-Fi services since the issue of “Connectivity” as outlined below is one of the key areas of focus for the GBTA and its members like Covington Travel. In fact, it is one of the eight “Rules of the Road” that the GBTA has developed to help make global travel systems safer, more reliable and a better place to conduct and facilitate business.
“CONNECTIVITY: Connectivity has become an indispensable technology for business travelers and should be developed and implemented wherever and whenever it is secure and responsible to do so. Personal access to Wi-Fi should not be blocked when the sole reason is to sell supplied access as the only option. Suppliers should meet the demands of the consumer, making connectivity available for travelers.”
Take care and I wish you safe, productive and connected travels, wherever your business takes you!
Robert Haislip – Vice President of Business Development
PS – And if you were ever curious like I was to see what is involved with installing satellite Wi-Fi on an airplane so you can stay connected at 35,000 feet, please take a look at the short video clip below from our friends at United Airlines:
• GBTA Business Traveler Sentiment Index™ – Global Report – June 2016
• GBTA Rules of the Road – 2016