Business travel and your travel policy are essential to so much of what your company does: securing new business, pitching ideas to existing clients, as well as having tough conversations that simply can’t be held via conference call. And your team members often see traveling on behalf of the company as a privilege — something to enjoy and to take pride in.
But a new study shows that your team members are likely looking for changes in travel policies that will make their lives on the road a little bit easier. New research from the Association of Corporate Travel Executives (ACTE) indicates that prospective employees are now asking to review travel policies before taking new positions, and that traveling employees in general are looking for 3 specific things.
Here’s a look at what business travelers want out of modern travel policies, as well as what meeting their needs can do for your business and its bottom line.
1. Connectivity Before, During and After Travel
First things first: Business travelers want to be connected at all times. They want fast Wi-Fi in their hotel rooms, and they also want the company to cover the Wi-Fi charge on airplanes.
And being connected is about more than just access to the Internet. Most companies are adopting technologies that streamline the entire travel experience, from booking to travel alerts to filing expenses. These technologies often feature mobile apps that allow travelers to get needed information at the push of a button, as well as live support 24 hours a day should travelers need assistance.
If your team members are still booking through travel agents, hanging onto receipts and using spreadsheets to file expenses, it’s time to look into the latest and greatest travel technologies. They can save your travelers time, and they can also save your company money.
2. Access to The Sharing Economy
The sharing economy has arrived, and it’s not going anywhere. Yes, there remain duty of care issues for some companies that are exploring the sharing economy. But many businesses have found ways to make car- and home-share services available to their traveling team members in a safe and responsible manner.
Travelers want the ability to use Uber, Airbnb and Lyft for business travel, just as they do when traveling for fun. And businesses are beginning to update theirtravel policies and take other strides to accommodate them. In 2016, only 9 percent of travel managers reported making home-share options available to travelers. In 2017, that number leapt to 22 percent.
3. Work-Life Balance
The ACTE’s research turned up another interesting finding: Many business travelers are making requests that would help promote work-life balance. These requests fall into 3 general categories:
- Requesting to replace a work trip with a video-conference.
- Requesting to add on to a work trip with a few days of leisure.
- Requesting to bring a family member along for a work trip.
About 31 percent of travel managers received requests like the ones listed above. In companies where the age of the average traveler was 40 or older, about 37 percent of travel managers received requests like the ones above.
Why Listen to Traveling Team Members?
Modernizing the way your company manages travel in response to the changing desires of business travelers isn’t just a nice thing to do for your team members. It can also benefit your company in several ways.
Simpler, more flexible travel policies are a great way to attract new talent. As noted above, a significant portion of job applicants are now asking to see travel policies before accepting new positions.
Responsive travel policies are also a better way to keep the talent you currently have. As an executive, you no doubt have a crystal clear picture of what turnover costs the company — better travel policies can help limit that turnover.
And, finally, flexible travel policies are a fast way to ensure better policy compliance among your team members. Employees are naturally going to be more compliant with policies that are responsive to their needs.
Create the Right Travel Policy for Your Business
At JTB USA Business Travel, we work each day with companies large and small, serving as a comprehensive corporate travel agency that’s focused on common sense solutions.
Not only do we provide a range of tools and services that improve the travel experience and that help save companies money, we can also help create a modern, responsive travel policy that serves your business well and that meets the evolving needs of your traveling team members.
Contact us today about getting a common sense approach to business travel for your company.