Itâ€™s a well-accepted premise that face-to-face interactions facilitate business objectives. Thus, travel continues to be a necessary part of doing business in todayâ€™s global economy. Most business travelers enjoy their time spent traveling for work and feel itâ€™s productive to their job. However, certain features of the business travel experience carry more weight than others. Understanding what business travelers want can help organizations provide the best scenario for productivity and retain top talent.
Survey data repeatedly indicates that the top priority in business travel is convenience. Travelers want flight times that coordinate with their schedules and allows them to arrive well-rested. They prefer nonstop flights and value booking flexibility to accommodate meeting changes.
As a spinoff of the overall convenience factor, business travelers also say that the ability to control their bookings themselves is important. Many corporate travel programs address this need by offering an online booking tool such as Concur. This tool allows business travelers to quickly and conveniently book flights, cars, hotels and rail reservations from a single source via computer or mobile device. The corporate travel policy is integrated, as is expense reporting, making it easy to comply with employer guidelines.
Conducive Work Environment
Business travelers need a work environment that supports their objectives. Since their location is not constant, mobile technology is of high importance. High-speed internet access is critical, and many business travelers choose to purchase airplane or train Wi-Fi â€“ even when they pay for it personally â€“ so they can remain productive while traveling. A GBTA study found that business travelers also purchase seat upgrades and early boarding for the same reason.
Other technology makes working from the road more efficient, as well. Road warriors report that mobile expense reporting, itinerary management apps such as Tripit, and mobile payment capabilities all help them manage and organize the details of working from changing locations.
It goes without saying that hotels must be clean and at least relatively comfortable. Just as in transportation options, convenience is the number one factor in hotel choice. Location trumps amenities or loyalty points because business travelers want to save time and money getting to their meetings. Hotel costs are also important because the majority of business travelers do try to stay within corporate travel policy, even though they are not personally picking up the tab.
High-speed Wi-Fi and desk space are necessary for work, although some people prefer a communal environment of workstations in the lobby over in-room desks. Beyond those features, business travelers want hotels that offer some food options, especially breakfast. Special amenities such as networking or social opportunities add personal value, especially for those on longer trips away from home.
Personal safety is of the utmost importance to business travelers and their companies. Travelers, especially women, need to feel confident that they are secure in their hotel location. Ground transportation should be identifiable and dependable. Airlines need a solid safety rating and reliable schedules.
Business travelers need to know who they should call in case of an emergency. Employers have a duty of care responsibility for their employees when they are traveling for business. This includes having a plan for guidance and assistance for any number of potential risks the traveler may encounter.
Why Does What Business Travelers Want Matter?
Most travelers agree that the quality of their business travel experience influences the actual business results. When they are comfortable, secure, and have the tools necessary to do the job on the road, they are more productive and achieve a better outcome. The business travel experience also affects overall employee satisfaction and retention, so organizations paying attention to what business travelers want is a win/win pursuit.
For reservations or questions about business travel, contact Covington.