This year’s Business Travel Show featured presentations and panel discussions with experts from across the industry. We’ve collated our highlights for those who missed the event.
Business travellers have complex needs, and the underlying psychology has deep roots. Alan Gillies from American Express and psychologist Honey Langcaster-James shared some of their research into this topic and discussed what companies should bear in mind when planning travel programmes.
Support the Rise of 'Bleisure'
American Express carried out research and analysed data from thousands of corporate customers to reveal business travel trends. First, business travel is personally satisfying, with 71% of frequent travellers saying it makes their job more interesting. Over half say that travelling for work has made them consider working abroad and 61% say that travel opportunities are an important consideration when applying for jobs.
Second, the practice of combining work trips with personal holidays (known as bleisure) is growing in popularity. Employees at large global companies now add personal days to one in 10 of their business trips. This trend can be good for everyone. Employees stay happy and airfares can be up to 25% lower due to weekend fares.
Bring Balance to Home and Away Time
But there is a downside to work trips. Transport problem, technical glitches, fatigue, stress and an impact on people’s home lives all came up in the presentation. While we love the opportunities that business travel presents, we also value our health, safety and comfort.
Honey tied this back to our deep psychological need for adventure versus security. As toddlers, we explore new spaces tentatively before returning to mum’s side every few minutes to ‘check in’. We hold on to this approach into our adult lives, too. Accordingly, business travellers – and their employers – should make the effort to balance exploration with time for safe-care.
Involve Travellers in the Planning Process
Honey says that we can take on more workload than we expect if we’re given autonomy with regards to how we manage that workload, and this applies to travel. In addition, employees and employers are both responsible when it comes to looking after wellbeing and that means making sensible choices about where business travellers stay and how they travel, as well as where they eat and the opportunities they have to keep active. Letting family members tag along on bleisure trips can also boost employees' motivation by providing a source of comfort and familiarity in what might be a completely new location.
- Business travellers are blurring the lines between work and personal trips.
- We have complex and often conflicting needs when travelling. We seek adventure but value home comforts.
- Giving business travellers a say in planning their trips can improve satisfaction and happy employees are more likely to be productive.