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How much interest do companies take in traveler well-being?

Corinne Beranger Corporations, Amadeus

Think about your last business trip. Did your company take care of you? Did they know how you were doing or if you were stressed?

Late last year, we invited business travelers and travel managers from medium to large companies to complete a survey about traveler well-being. Nearly 900 travelers and 96 travel managers from around the globe responded. We found out that most companies give medium to high attention to this topic. However, when asked whether their organization takes active steps to improve it, only 39% of travel managers answered yes, while 22 % were not even sure. 

Why should a company care about traveler well-being? 

The ethical duty still exists in countries that don't have a legal obligation. This means they should take all reasonable steps to ensure employee health, safety, and well-being. Increasingly, the topic is becoming of interest to the full C-suite of organizations as reduced travel stress means higher productivity and potential return on investment on the trip.  

Additionally, the younger generations are giving more and more importance to their work-life balance which means caring about employee welfare is also vital for companies to attract and retain talent. The travel policy, and resulting travel comfort, is becoming a criteria for candidates to select their future employer. 

Can travel managers play a role?

Absolutely. Our survey showed that when travel managers made suggestions to improve travelers’ well-being, these were generally accepted in 33% of the cases, sometimes in 40% of the cases. 

Travel managers can have a real impact. The results from our traveler survey indicated that the biggest sources of stress during trip are flight delays, lost or delayed luggage and connectivity issues. 

By selecting the right tools and providers, travel managers can help limit disruptions and provide the best support in case they do happen. They can also adapt the travel policy and make it more flexible to reduce discomfort during the trip, which is another key category of stress according to our survey. For example, they could propose ‘healthier’ hotels in more convenient locations, and provide more flexible flight options, avoiding indirect flights and departures at inopportune times for the business traveler. It is also about trusting business travelers will do ‘what is right’ for the company since they are happier if they have more control over their travel arrangements. 

Data and technology are key to improve traveler well-being

Convenience and comfort are very subjective terms. When faced with the same stressful event, two people may have very different reactions. Hence, there is no ‘one size fits all’ solution when it comes to managing people’s experiences.  It is important for travel managers to communicate with their business travelers and understand their pain points. Data can help build a more balanced travel program and define initiatives for traveler well-being. 

At Amadeus, we currently have an innovation project which leverages artificial intelligence and machine learning to report on past trips and predict stress levels associated to future trips on an individual basis. Thanks to this, we can suggest more convenient options to travelers based on their personal preferences and history. This is just the first step in leveraging data and technology to provide business travelers with a smooth experience.

Have a look here to find out more about how we’re helping corporations put traveler well-being first.

This article was written on 12-Mar-2019.