Life’s all about balance. Business is all about people. And yet it’s so easy for your balance and wellbeing routine to slip when travellers are out on the road, leaving your people tired, stressed, and resentful.
The best way to keep the wellness balance in check is to ensure a business trip goes according to plan – and even something as simple as a decent night’s sleep can make a huge difference. Of course, business travellers have a personal responsibility when it comes to looking after their health and wellbeing (like eating well, exercising and keeping hydrated), but if you are responsible for your company’s travel programme there are ways you can support their wellbeing.
Get the basics right
Maintaining your travellers’ wellbeing starts with 4 simple basics:
As a booker you need to think carefully about flight times, transit times, meeting times and everything in between. Rushing a meeting to catch a flight is no fun at all. My advice? When in doubt, build in time.
Arrival transport. When your team lands, how are they getting to their hotel or meeting? It might sound obvious, but arrival transport is often the last thing travellers think about.
Work trips can be exhausting.What is your policy around their first day back? Are you flexible – or are they rushing back to the office?
Is your team expected to manage their inbox and usual workload while on the road? Consider lounge access as well as connectivity at their accommodation. Budget-friendly hotels don’t always include a desk area or Wi-Fi.
Build wellbeing into your travel policy
Reminding employees to make time for self-care and sending out tips on stress management is great, but you need to walk the walk. Include a dedicated section in your travel policy covering things like flexible working hours while on the road; lounge access; travel perks; pre or post-holiday opportunities; and even post-trip duvet days.
A ‘health-centric’ travel policy might:
Accept premium class bookings for long-haul and red-eye flights. Budget is important, but consider premium economy fares (or better) for travellers who frequently face long journeys or red-eye flights. It’ll allow for a more comfortable trip and extra legroom – and minimise stress!
Take note of traveller preferences. Check where your travellers like to sit on the plane, what type of meals they enjoy, their special dietary requirements, and their preferred hotels. It’s amazing how the smallest details can make the biggest difference.
Relook accommodation options. It’s time to say goodbye to poky hotel rooms and takeaway meals. Today’s travellers are looking for comfortable spaces, reliable connectivity, and plenty of options to keep fit, eat well, or simply relax and unwind. Consider serviced apartments for longer stays – or select guesthouses where travellers feel at home.
Negotiate perks and upgrades. Many global TMCs will be able to use existing supplier relationships to negotiate special perks. These include free upgrades, priority boarding and lounge access as well as early check-in or late check-out – which is so important for weary travellers.
Keep an eye on traveller stress – and always ask for post-trip feedback
Check-in regularly with your travellers to get feedback on what’s working and what’s not. Measure your progress and make improvements where necessary.
Your TMC should be able to help you put pre- and post-trip surveys together and analyse the results. Corporate Traveller even offers ‘stress-watch’ reporting to help you pin-point travellers who are most at risk of stress (and therefore most in need of support).
When it comes to stress-free travel, travellers want to feel ‘connected’ and in control. They like to have the right information at their fingertips; receive updates if plans change; and be able to reach out to a ‘real life’ person in an emergency.
According to a new study by Clickatell – How Conversational Chat is Fuelling the Travel Industry – 95% of travellers are looking for a more personalised experience in terms of mobile apps and chatbots– especially when it comes to flight delays and changes.
This is echoed by an April 2022 report by SAP Concur, which shows that business travellers would like their companies to leverage tech to streamline the traveller journey. In fact,
business travellers ranked their top five investment ‘asks’ as:
Apps with real-time travel updates and booking (46%).
Tools for quicker expense reimbursement (43%).
Tools for navigating the latest travel safety requirements (41%).
A travel management system (40%).
An integrated system for travel and expense reporting (39%).
The challenge is finding the right travel platform that works for your business. A good platform, like Corporate Traveller’s Melon, keeps you, your travellers, your bookers and your team in perfect sync.
Put bleisure on the agenda
You’ve heard them all: blended travel, bleisure, workations and even wolidays. All terms for mixing business and leisure, a trend which is only going to grow in popularity as employees (especially younger generations) chase work-life balance. And it’s a win-win for everyone. Business travellers get to add days onto the front or back end of their business trip to relax, recharge or explore new destinations. Businesses reap the benefits of happy, healthy, productive employees. But it does need to be managed carefully. Again, your TMC can help you address bleisure travel in your travel policy, including:
Who pays for what?
Do you have processes in place to ensure the safety of employees?
Who is responsible for travel insurance?
Are leisure days taken as formal leave days?
For SMEs trying to make ends meet, manage their staff and grow their business, health and wellbeing often falls to the bottom of the list of priorities.
Luckily, we’ve covered it in our free SME Corporate Travel Toolkit. This kit will give you pointers on how to craft the perfect travel policy, where to find savings without compromising on traveller safety and so much more. Sign up today!