Due to our globalized world and number of business travelers, on-the-road wellness needs to be an area of targeted focus for companies to thrive in the modern era, especially as business travel continues to grow. According to the Global Business Travel Association, the world collectively spent $1.33 trillion on business activities in 2017 and by 2022, this number is expected to reach over $1.7 trillion.
Now that's a lot of traveling.
A nationwide BridgeStreet traveler survey conducted earlier this year sought to collect data directly from business travelers. This mix consisted of executives, upper management, managers, team leaders, team members, consultants, contractors, and interns.
From that study, two things caught my attention the most about what matters most to business travelers:
1. Let employees choose their own accommodation.
This seems like a no-brainer, but few companies are truly executing this philosophy. When it comes to lodging and accommodations, a great majority of companies are placing employees at the edge of town in an extended stay property or keeping them by the airport (which is rarely near the exciting and valuable parts of town).
In the BridgeStreet survey, 88 percent of the respondents said that they look forward to business travel more when they can choose the accommodation style they want. In addition, 84 percent reported that they'd be more inclined to travel within the corporate policy if more accommodation options were available to them.
To embody this philosophy, allow your employees to choose their accommodations. Or, if you have an extended stay property in select cities, opt for a location that is near more attractions and lifestyle-friendly options to help your employees transition to "feeling and living like a local" sooner and seamlessly.
2. Create strong and clear business travel policies.
Optimizing your companies business travel philosophy can become a competitive advantage in recruiting and overall productivity.
In the BridgeStreet survey, 42 percent of respondents said that corporate travel policies such as alternative homes and non-relocation options definitely impact their decision to work with a company. Also in the survey, 66 percent of the respondents believed that the combination of great accommodation and culture/lifestyle attractions will improve their productivity while on business travel.
To improve your travel policies, a great idea is to create a company travel wellness program as that will help with keeping all the moving parts organized and congruent.
At the basis of the program, helping employees by educating them about eating away from home, helping them mitigate jet lag in order to perform in a more optimal state, sleep hygiene tips, and even expanding upon the budget to allow for higher quality food selections.
These are just a few of the many potential ideas.
One big mistake that companies make regarding their policies is not making it a two-way street of communication. You can become more efficient simply by gathering input and feedback from the start before introducing massive iterations.
With a future-thinking approach of integrating more leisure (and people-focused) travel concepts into business travel, you'll be giving your company a leg up on this pivotal area of business that is only growing.