Organizations are more focused on the wellness of their road warriors than they have been at any time before. For travel buyers, wellness is currently a more important priority than travel policy or even cost reduction.
A strong economy could be a key reason for this. If the economy takes a downturn, a renewed focus on compliance and savings could follow. For now, corporate travel management companies (TMCs) would do well to work with travel buyers to prioritize traveler wellness.
TMCs can do this by remembering three transformational principles.
Principle #1 – Travel is personal.
Never forget that business travel is personal. Some days it doesn’t seem that way because the focus is on dealing with hotel bookings, flight reservations and weather alerts but all travel is personal, even when it is undertaken for business.
When road warriors travel, they leave work and family behind. They lose productivity and experience the personal impact of departing and re-entering at often less than ideal times. Many a business traveler has to rise before dawn to catch an early flight for a full day of meetings followed by a late night return and a full day in the office the next morning. There’s little time to decompress, let alone time to reconnect with family and friends.
When this kind of travel experience happens infrequently it is perhaps less impactful. When it happens as a matter of practice, fatigue, disengagement and burnout can occur.
Travel management companies can help mitigate this by remembering that this is what business travelers experience on a regular basis. They can look for little ways to make travel more enjoyable and less stressful.
Principle #2 – Be a partner, not a provider.
Feeding off of principle one, TMCs can impact positive change for their clients by serving as partners, not providers. At Travel and Transport, we seek to be an extension of our clients’ organizations and strategic partner rather than just someone who books reservations to get them from point A to point B.
From offering our clients a travel app that enhances convenience, to putting the company and individual traveler preferences and policies at the fingertips of every travel advisor, these are little things that TMCs can do to aid companies in their quest to fuel road warrior wellness.
Principle #3 – Focus on traveler satisfaction.
While cost should and will always be a concern, it does not have to be reduced at the expense of traveler satisfaction. In a recent survey, conducted by Travel and Transport, more than 847 travelers, executives and travel managers in North America and Europe agreed that traveler satisfaction is equally important.
Everyone has a travel horror story. Road warriors have more of them because they travel more frequently. Remembering that travel can and is often stressful can help travel buyers and the TMCs they partner with to prevent burnout that is often seen in positions with frequent travel demands.
We can create a less stressful, more productive and happier experience without it costing a lot more money. At Travel and Transport, we do this by constantly asking how we can make the travel experience better for our clients and their travelers.
Our agent desktop system puts traveler preferences at the fingertips of every employee so that we can see what airlines travelers fly, where they live, where they fly in an out of, what flights they normally take and more.
We use that data to anticipate traveler needs and feed it offline to our app to provide relevant information about their travel policy and preferences while they are on the road. This allows us to remind travelers when parking is included or a ridesharing service is allowed by their company policy; or where a meeting is and what restaurants are nearby to make dining easier.
Ultimately, it comes down to using data to understand what travelers want and serving it up when they need it. That is the key to fighting for and securing wellness for road warriors.
Penny Watermeier, CTC, GLP, is Vice President and Officer, Corporate Sales and Marketing for
Travel and Transport, the fifth largest travel management company in the United States, serving clients throughout the country and around the world.