RoomIt and GBTA launched a study to measure the factors influencing sentiment among business travelers across the globe.
Survey respondents feel strongly that travel is integral to the success of their business. 83% say it is very important to the overall financial performance of their company, and the vast majority say face-to-face meetings are the most effective way to conduct business.
In addition, despite the disruptions travel can cause, two-thirds of business travelers also feel they are very productive while on the road.
Still, many of us have heard stories about stressful events that occurred while traveling. Interestingly, the results of the GBTA Business Traveler Sentiment Study shows that the stressors do not seem to significantly impact business traveler satisfaction, given 86% of global business travelers report they are satisfied with their overall business travel experiences. So what stresses travelers on the road?
1. Fretting over prep
Many things that stress travelers are tied to preparation for travel. For example, 46% find preparations to leave home or family cause stress and 43% cited preparations to leave the office.
Once on the road, we’ve all had that sinking feeling after opening our bag only to find we forgot our phone or chargers at home. 64% of travelers say leaving a smartphone at home would cause them the most stress followed closely by 50% who say leaving a laptop charger at home would be the most stressful.
One traveler shared how he flew across country to meet with partners only to discover he did not bring his computer charger. Unfortunately, his co-workers were not in the same all-day meetings, so he had to ask a VP, whom he just met, if he could use his power chord.
Tip: Tell your frequent travelers to keep a “to-go bag” complete with chargers, travel toiletries and other necessities packed, at all times.
2. Outfits can cause fits
A third of business travelers shared that they are stressed by being under or overdressed.
One RoomIteer remembered traveling for a meeting and being told the office had a very casual dress code. She showed up wearing jeans only to discover that everyone else was wearing suits and dresses.
Tip: Verifying dress codes with local employees ahead of time can be awkward, but it can save some embarrassment as well.
3. Travel mishaps
Most travel mishaps revolve around flights with over half of business travelers experiencing delays. On the other hand, travelers say they are satisfied with the hotel-related portions of their trip.
But, when asked what would bother travelers the most, they tell us hotel rooms lacking privacy and noise from adjacent rooms. Given that lack of sleep, while traveling is the greatest health and wellness related travel stressor, it’s no surprise that thin walls and a lack of privacy can cause a lot of frustration.
During a recent trip I took, I stayed in a hotel in France that hadn’t turned on their air conditioning given it was early spring. However, an unusual heat wave had hit the city so I, and everyone else at the property, had to open our floor-to-ceiling windows to cool off, which meant everyone could see and hear everyone else staying in that hotel.
You may have known others that unknowingly found themselves in noisy situations. For example, business travelers may book a hotel with a nightclub attached, not realizing the pounding music below their room would keep them awake all night before a big meeting.
Tip: My occurrence was rare and one the property had little control over given the unusual weather. However, some hotels may be better suited for leisure travelers than business travelers. That is why we collect hotel reviews directly from our customers after each stay and will be sharing those reviews directly in our booking tools. Remind your employees to submit and check reviews from their peers so they know what to expect in advance.
4. Location matters
The number one thing travelers say would improve their overall travel experience was staying in a hotel near their worksite (87%). Offering a variety of property choices is key to ensure your travelers have access to accommodations near their destinations and have access to rates that are available.
Tip: Booking tools that allow you to enter an exact location when searching also make it easier for travelers to choose the right property for their trip.
5. Amenities make a difference
Working offline has gone the way of the beeper and PalmPilot, yet Wi-Fi connectivity can be disrupted during travel. Strong Wi-Fi is not as common in hotels in some parts of the world, so it comes as no surprise that access to Wi-Fi continues to rank among the most coveted hotel amenities.
Tip: Negotiate rates that include Wi-Fi or utilize rates from your TMC, like RoomIt Rates, which include Wi-Fi access to ensure travelers’ productivity isn’t compromised. Outside of hotels, you may consider reimbursing Wi-Fi during flights or providing lounge access to frequent travelers.
In addition to this, travelers value amenities, like free breakfast at hotels. Tracking down breakfast in a new city on your way to work isn’t always easy, but considering one in three travelers also report being frustrated with the speed in which they are reimbursed for travel, it’s no wonder why breakfast is also habitually ranked as a valuable amenity.
Overall employees want to travel for business, and most see it as a vital part of their job and critical to the health of their company. In fact 78% of people say improvements in technology do not replace the value of face-to-face meetings.
While traveling may cause stress, with proper packing, planning, and reviewing, much of it can be avoided.
Travel managers can also help their employees avoid frustration by offering a variety of properties and rates and by providing access to hotel reviews from peers.
The good news is hotels are service-oriented, and if your travelers do run into a displeasing situation, you should make them aware that hotel staff will be more than willing to do what they can to make their guests more comfortable.
Blog author: Peggy Studer, VP of Marketing, RoomIt by CWT