Business travel is often seen as a necessary inconvenience by employees. The long flights, lonely hotel rooms, and endless expenses can take a toll on travelers.
However, the business travel experience doesn't have to be all doom and gloom. With the right policies and practices, you can make business trips easier and more enjoyable for your team.
Why It Matters
A positive travel experience has concrete benefits for your business. Employees who travel comfortably get less stressed and remain more productive during and after trips.
Happy travelers also represent your company better to clients and partners. Satisfied business travelers are less likely to leave your organization for opportunities with less travel.
Making travel pleasant for employees should be a priority. Consider these statistics:
- In one survey, 52% of business travelers said they get annoyed by some part of business travel. Just 17% said they don't find any annoyances during work trips.
- 40% of business travelers say they get stressed while planning and booking travel. Another 31% reported stress during the actual trip.
- 55% of business travelers say their organization needs to do more to make travel easy for employees.
With conscious effort, you can do better. Follow these tips to create the best experience.
Offer Generous Policies
Evaluate your formal travel policies and find ways to make them more employee-friendly.
Consider changes like:
- Allowing flexible booking timing. Don't restrict flights to only certain departure windows. Let travelers pick flights that work best for them.
- Increasing allowances for hotels and meals. Choose tiers that enable stays at comfortable hotels and nice restaurants.
- Allowing personal travel add-ons. Let employees extend trips or bring family members if they cover the cost.
- Reimbursing Wi-Fi, airline lounge fees, and other amenities. Don't nickel-and-dime travelers.
- Letting travelers keep travel rewards points. Don't require employees to use points only for business.
- Allowing vacation buffer days around trips. Let travelers add a couple of vacation days before or after work trips.
The more flexibility and perks you can add, the more positive the travel experience will be.
Provide Travel Support
Don't just set travel policies and leave employees to fend for themselves. Provide hands-on support through every step of the travel journey.
- Have travel agents assist with complex bookings and provide options. Don't force travelers to research and book everything themselves.
- Help with visa applications, immunizations, and other pre-trip requirements. Don't leave travelers to figure these out alone.
- Offer 24/7 phone support for travelers to call from the road for any issues. Don't leave them stranded during trips.
- Have portals with all policies, guidebooks, contacts, and other resources. Make travel details easy to find.
- Automatically deliver flight delays, emergency info, and other alerts. Don't make travelers hunt down critical updates.
The more involved you can support travelers, the more their experience will improve.
Prioritize Health & Safety
Consider traveler health, safety, and well-being the utmost priority, especially for international trips. Go above and beyond to minimize risks.
- Consult government and medical guidance to stay up-to-date on travel advisories and health risks
- Screen destinations ahead of time and alter plans if hazards arise
- Provide access to 24/7 medical and security assistance while traveling
- Arrange special evacuation services in high-risk regions
- Provide health kits with masks, sanitizer, motion sickness aids, and other supplies
- Share safety, wellness, and preventative health tips for before, during, and after trips
- Allow flexible scheduling when returning from different time zones
By making extra efforts around duty of care, you show travelers that you value their well-being.
Offer Travel Comforts
Enhance comfort throughout the travel experience so employees arrive rested and focused.
- Allow business class flights for long hauls and night flights
- Subsidize seats with extra legroom and amenities
- Provide airport lounge access for waits between flights
- Book rooms at nicer hotels with elite tiers and guaranteed early check-in
- Arrange hotel room upgrades when available
- Provide amenity kits with sleep masks, earplugs, toiletries, and other handy items
- Allow flexible scheduling when returning from red-eye flights
- Subsidize rideshare services to and from the airport
These types of perks make travel much less exhausting and stressful.
Create Loyalty Rewards
Leverage corporate travel loyalty programs that reward frequent business travelers. These programs should include:
- Points or miles earnings for hotels and airlines
- Elite status tiers providing bonus amenities and perks
- Point accelerators to help travelers earn rewards faster
- Use points/miles for personal recreational travel
- Consolidated accounts across brands
- Easy interfaces to view points balances and redeem
Earning meaningful rewards can make travel feel more worthwhile rather than just a hassle.
Make Travel Time Productive
Help employees make the most of their travel time instead of just enduring uncomfortable journeys.
- Provide portable wifi devices so travelers can work remotely
- Cover in-flight Wi-Fi costs so travelers can connect
- Encourage noise-cancelling headphones and other tech accessories
- Share apps, podcasts, and other resources to productively pass time
- Provide lightweight mobile work power adapters and portable batteries
- Offer tips and training for being productive in transit
- Allow expensing of laptops, tablets, and other devices
When travelers can effectively work and recharge while in transit, the journey feels less arduous.
Track Experience & Feedback
Check-in frequently with business travelers to understand pain points and continuously improve policies.
- Send post-trip surveys asking about their recent experience
- Occasionally review expense reports manually to look for patterns
- Analyze traveler feedback shared on team calls or in internal forums
- Proactively reach out to check in on frequent travelers
- Periodically ride along on team member trips to witness firsthand
- Consider focus groups, interviews, or ideation workshops
By monitoring the employee travel experience and regularly soliciting feedback, you can adapt programs based on real needs.
Explicitly acknowledge the sacrifices employees make when traveling for work. Show you understand it disrupts their life and requires extra effort.
- Send thank you notes or small gifts when employees return from extended trips
- Highlight business travel efforts in company meetings or newsletters
- Provide time off after big trips before employees dive back into work
- Share positive feedback given by clients to recognize travel contributions
- Have leaders join some trips to understand challenges better
- Celebrate business travel milestones like 100,000 flight miles
Recognizing the burdens of business travel boosts morale and retention.
Making business trips as smooth and enjoyable as possible for your employees pays dividends through increased productivity, better brand representation, and higher traveler satisfaction.
By following these tips, you can build positive experiences before, during, and after any work-related journey.