Most people associate travel with memorable holidays and time with their family but business travel can be gruelling. A dash to the airport, quickly writing a presentation on the plane, then a taxi to the hotel or meeting, sandwiches at the conference table for lunch and only getting back home after the kids have gone to bed.
Despite advances in web conferencing, many meetings still take place in person and with a focus on Asian and Latin American markets, journeys can be long. According to tClara, a company dedicated to deliver high-value analyses of corporate travel data, the top 5% of business travellers spend an average of 214 hours on an airplane every year with 65% of this on personal time in the evenings and weekends. This all means that some travellers are away from home for around 2.5 months a year, spending more time traveling than on paid annual leave.
‘Travel friction’, the wear and tear of regular business travel on employees, has an impact on motivation and employee engagement. To ease traveler burnout and the loss of productivity many employees experience, companies are exploring different ways of making the travel experience smoother.
Priority Pass research found that nearly three-quarters of frequent business travellers (73%) choose not to stay in 4 or 5 star hotels, but look to enhance their trips with other benefits. Airport lounge access is considered essential or nice to have for 69% of UK frequent business travellers, while nearly half (46%) see concierge services as essential or nice to have. Additional benefits such as premium offers for car hire, airport restaurant and retail promotions or access to exclusive sporting locations such as golf courses also add value to business travellers.
The research highlights a number of opportunities for business travel providers and for internal corporate travel teams. Frequent business travellers are more loyal to their preferred airline (61%) than general travellers (39%) but show less loyalty to hotel groups, suggesting that hoteliers who can offer enhancements such as access to arts and cultural events, fine dining and wines or spas can attract and retain these valuable customers. Hotels could also offer more family oriented benefits which bridge business and leisure travel, such as organised excursions.
Digital technology is also reducing the friction caused by business travel. Digital tickets, digital membership for airport lounges, spas and restaurants and apps making it easy to look-up destinations all help to provide a more seamless experience at airports, something that we know is highly valued by today’s business travellers.
An increasing number of organisations are starting to recognise the value that can be gained if the experience of flying for business feels a lot less like work, something that the Priority Pass team will be on standby to discuss at stand B422. We look forward to seeing you then.
This post was written by Stephen Simpson, Global Marketing Director, Priority Pass, who are exhibiting at the Business Travel Show next week - register for a free pass now at www.businesstravelshow.com.