Time spent in transit is the most challenging aspect of business travel, according a new report released today by the GBTA Foundation. The work environment while travelling, layovers and rebooking flights and hotel stays also topped the list of most challenging aspects for Asia-Pacific business travellers.
The study, Creating a Frictionless Travel Experience – Asia Pacific, conducted in partnership with Sabre Corporation, identifies the main challenges business travellers face during their travel experience while also looking to understand what organisations are doing to make this experience a better one for their travellers.
The top pain points all have one thing in common – they are time consuming and business travellers prefer to remain as productive as possible while on the road.
“It is no secret that business travel drives business growth and face-to-face interactions help get business done,” said Michael McCormick, GBTA’s executive director and COO.
“Ultimately those who travel want to save time when possible, be productive and have a pleasant experience while accomplishing their business goals. A better understanding of the challenges business travellers face can help organisations better serve their road warriors as they work to provide the right tools, resources and policies,” McCormick added.
“With advances in technology, corporate travellers are plugged in and connected more than ever before. While the technology is out there, this report demonstrates that we still have work do to make corporate travel more seamless, reducing the number of apps and tools needed to organise their trip, while also optimising compliance and reducing costs,” said Wade Jones, executive vice president and president, Sabre Travel Network.
Jones added: “It is critical we organise and align our resources to execute on integrating technology into a sustainable, data-rich platform that supports the business travel experience across the spectrum of planning and booking to reconciling expenses at the end of the journey.”
Why does the business travel experience matter?
Business travel can have a considerable impact on employee satisfaction and retention as a large majority of business travellers say their business travel experience impacts their overall job satisfaction at least somewhat across all Asia Pacific markets. This is truer among millennials.
Business travel not only influences how employees feel about their current company, it can also influence whether they take a job in the first place. A decent share of business travellers indicate a company’s travel policy is an important factor when considering a potential new employer.
However, this share varies widely by regions ranging from 31 per cent in Japan to 86 per cent in India. Additionally, the vast majority of travellers say the quality of their business travel experience impacts their business results at least somewhat.
Improving the traveller experience
When asked what perks or amenities impact their business travel experience the most, convenient and comfortable hotels most often topped the list for business travellers, although it did vary slightly by region. Also high on the list were non-stop flights, paid time off for long trips and booking flexibility.
Looking at optional purchases business travellers make on their own to improve their experience is also telling. These include hotel high-speed Internet, airport lounge, black car service, airplane/train Wi-Fi and seat upgrades. Travellers most often mention that these purchases help them improve their productivity on the road.
Technology also makes an important contribution to business traveller satisfaction, enabling a more efficient travel process. Business travellers indicated a variety of technological amenities would enhance their travel experience with automated destination info, mobile payment, itinerary management apps, live chat capabilities for travel policy inquiries and safety apps topping the list in most regions.
China-based travellers are especially interested in mobile payment, and along with their India-based counterparts, are especially interested in live chat capabilities for travel policy inquiries. Despite Japan’s reputation for technological innovation, its business travellers are less likely to say that various technological amenities would enhance their travel experience.