Global Business Travellers identify Top Challenges
Time spent in transit is the most challenging aspect of business travel, according a new report released today by the GBTA Foundation – the education and research arm of the Global Business Travel Association. Layovers, changing a reservation mid-trip, work environment while travelling and preparing expense reports also topped the list of most challenging aspects for European business travellers.
The study, Improving the Traveller Experience – Europe, conducted in partnership with Sabre Corporation identifies the main challenges business travellers face during their travel experience while also looking to understand what organizations are doing to make this experience a better one for their travellers. The top pain points all have one thing in common – they are time consuming and business travellers prefer to remain as productive as possible while on the road.
“It is no secret that business travel drives business growth and face-to-face interactions help get business done,” said Michael W. McCormick, GBTA executive director and COO. “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.”
“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,” said Wade Jones, executive vice president and president, Sabre Travel Network. “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.”
Why Does the Business Travel Experience Matter?
Business travel can have a considerable impact on employee satisfaction and retention as the vast majority (83 percent) of business travellers say their business travel experience impacts their overall job satisfaction at least somewhat. This is truer among Millennials (88 percent). This is especially true in Spain and Germany where 50 percent and 47 percent respectively say traveling for work impacts their overall job satisfaction to a great extent, significantly higher than most other countries in Europe.
Business travel not only influences how employees feel about their current company, it can also influence whether they take a job in the first place. Half of respondents (50 percent) indicate a company’s travel programme is an important factor when considering a potential new employer. Additionally, 83 percent of travellers say the quality of their business travel experience impacts their business results at least somewhat.
Improving the Traveller Experience
When asked what perks or amenities impact their business travel experience the most, convenient and comfortable hotels topped the list for business travellers followed by non-stop flights, booking flexibility and paid time off for long trips. Looking at optional purchases business travellers make on their own to improve their experience is also telling. These include airplane/train Wi-Fi, hotel high-speed internet, seat upgrades and international mobile calls/texts. Business travellers say they purchase these items because they find value in them helping them remain productive while in transit or away from the office.
Technology also makes an important contribution to business traveller satisfaction, enabling a more efficient travel process. Business travellers indicated a variety of technological amenities would enhance their travel experience with automated destination info, itinerary management apps, mobile payment, safety tracking app and mobile expense reporting the list. Millennials are more likely than Gen-Xers and Baby Boomers to mention automated information like weather, security alerts and restaurant info as one that would improve their travel experience. Millennials also mention live chat capabilities (23 percent) more often than Baby Boomers (13 percent), while Boomers are less likely to mention mobile expense reporting compared to the two younger age groups.
Around the Globe
The GBTA Foundation also surveyed business travellers in Asia Pacific, North America and Latin America. While there are many similarities among business travellers around the world, there are also several key differences.