Personal safety and work-life balance are two of the biggest concerns that buyers are hearing from their travellers over the past few years, according to a new study.
The research, which explores how the priorities of modern business travellers are changing, showed that almost two-thirds of travel managers (65 per cent) have seen an increase in enquiries from employees about their personal safety.
Almost half (48 per cent) of buyers surveyed have also seen an increase in work-life balance concerns , with a similarly high proportion (42 per cent) seeing a rise in requests by business travellers to combine business and leisure.
Others have seen requests to bring a family member on a business trip (28 per cent) or for time in lieu (23 per cent). Around two-thirds saw an increase in inquiries made by travellers concerning personal safety.
The research from ACTE and American Express Global Business Travel explores how corporations can adapt managed travel programmes to fulfil the needs and expectations of contemporary business travellers.
The report, entitled Meet the Modern Business Traveller, is based on a research poll of 250 corporate travel managers and buyers.
It found that many corporations are beginning to adapt travel programmes to match the profile of the modern business traveller. Over half those surveyed (54 per cent) have tightened their policy on personal safety, while more than a third (36 per cent) are about to, or are considering, policy changes.
Travel managers remain split on sharing economy services: 25 per cent provide sharing economy ground transport options [in policy], while 30 per cent don’t. Just 9 per cent offer sharing accommodation, with 59 per cent saying they have no plans to introduce it.
Improved productivity was cited as the main objectives for improving the traveller experience by 39 per cent of survey respondents, while one-quarter said it was key to being an attractive employer.
Only 14 per cent said revenue generation was their key objective. But there is evidence that corporations often have a mismatch between key performance indicators (KPIs) and objectives.
The majority of travel managers cited savings (90 per cent) as their top KPI, followed by compliance (86 per cent), traveller satisfaction (68 per cent), traveller productivity (30 per cent), traveller wellness (29 per cent), work-life balance (24 per cent), and traveller retention (20 per cent).
American Express GBT’s regional director EMEA Philip Haxne said: “Business travellers, and business travel, have evolved – the days of the road warrior are over.
“Today, a managed travel policy and programme can only really be successful if the emotions, desires and habits of the modern business traveller are understood. Only by adapting to the modern business traveller can businesses attract and retain top talent, while increasing productivity.”
He added: “To make this a reality, corporations should take advantage of today’s powerful technology to enable choice and personalisation in the travel experience.”
ACTE executive director Greeley Koch said: “Modern business travellers travel for two reasons: to meet their corporate objectives and to support their life’s objectives. For a growing number, the first is meaningless if it doesn’t contribute to the second.
“Traveller centricity is the link connecting work-life balance, increased traveller performance, and accomplished corporate objectives — without the loss of savings.”