Putting Travelers on the Road to Happiness

Are business executives aware of the “true cost” of travel on their road warriors and how the days spent away from home affects their happiness?

Such was the question posed to 50-plus travel professionals at the Acendas Travel annual Corporate Travel Symposium featuring clients, travel providers, travel industry consultants and staff. The topic sprung from a panel discussion where attendees addressed issues of safety and well-being for employees who travel.

The following is what was heard from the roundtable:

  1. Travel Policy: As travel policies become more specific and cover more topics, communicating change is important, yet challenging. Travel policies must be placed on the same level as other company policies but need to address traveler friction where possible.
  2. Education: More and more companies are educating travelers weekly with relevant tips and regular communications. Travel management companies can help as well, such as Acendas automatically emailing country specific information when an international flight is booked.
  3. Discussing Traveler Friction: Many companies use surveys to obtain feedback, especially from international travels, where the challenges can be greater. Some companies have been successful with individual conversations in person with travelers to get deeper feedback. This method is especially beneficial when a traveler has just returned from a trip and items are fresh on their minds.
  4. Perks and Other Rewards: Some companies are willing to allow travelers to get TSA PreCheck if they meet a requirement for number of flights a year. Certain companies are starting to offer gift cards as incentives for road warriors. While other corporations employ rewards for business travelers that make travel policy and cost-conscious decisions. These reward options include cash, gift cards, or donations to their favorite charity.
  5. Bleisure: This combination of work and personal travel is growing and thus a challenge for policymakers. However, any policy must be consistent and clear for the end user to understand. Companies supporting a work and play mixture might help with retention rates.
  6. Technology: What solutions are available to minimize traveler friction? Acendas offers a web-based reporting tool, DecisionSource powered by BCD Travel. This proprietary travel data management platform provides pre and post-travel reports along with analytics, giving clients anytime access and unprecedented control of program data.

Most travel managers agree: there are many benefits of designing policies that focus on traveler wellbeing and safety. These include complying with duty of care, avoiding traveler friction, improving policy compliance, increasing traveler satisfaction, and enhancing employee retention. In the end, a happy worker is likely to be more productive and efficient.