BCD survey: The stress of business travel

Adding more direct flights, TSA PreCheck and extra time off may help fight business travel stress, BCD findings show. While 89% of business travelers say employee wellbeing is a priority at their company, only 51% feel that their company provides traveler wellbeing support, according to a recent BCD Travel survey of 875 business travelers worldwide.

First, what is wellbeing?

The word is defined as the state of being comfortable, happy or healthy. Employee wellbeing expands that definition to consider people’s physical, mental and emotional state at work and how things like business travel affect their stress levels on and off the job.

Our survey found that pre-trip stress is caused more by complex procedures and sudden changes and less by the booking process. According to the survey respondents, the three main stress factors before a trip are:

  1. Understanding COVID regulations and preparing required documents (54%)
  2. Re-booking in case of changes or cancellations (44%)
  3. Reconciling trip and personal life (41%)

Booking flights (18%) and accommodations (16%) are the least stressful.

Causes of stress during travel:

  1. Flight delays and cancellations (64%)
  2. Tight connections (53%)
  3. Economy class for long-haul flights (40%)

The least stressful is orientation or transportation at the destination (13%).

Post-trip stress factors include:

  1. Catching up on office work (51%)
  2. Preparing expense reports (45%)
  3. Catching up on missed household or family duties (39%).

Jet lag (22%) and following up on a trip’s business results (21%) are the least stressful.

“As employees get back to travel, companies should be aware of key stress factors for business travelers, stemming from disruptions related to ongoing pandemic uncertainties, travel restrictions and geopolitical events. Our most recent research offers insights and advice,” said Mike Janssen, Global Chief Operating Officer and Chief Commercial Officer at BCD.

How can companies provide wellbeing support?

According to the survey respondents, these top policy options would contribute to their wellbeing:

  • Offering direct flights
  • Allowing airplane seat selection
  • Providing convenient hotel locations
  • Providing fast-track security programs such as TSA PreCheck®
  • Allowing business class for long-haul flights

Other measures that travelers can benefit from are:

  • Recommending restaurants with healthy food
  • Nutrition, sleep and recovery advice
  • Gym memberships when traveling
  • Allowing bleisure trips (combining business with leisure)
  • Extra time off to compensate for business travel outside working hours (e.g., weekends)

Additionally, companies can consider partnering with health and wellness solutions providers, such as BCD’s SolutionSource® partner Sanctifly. With a Sanctifly membership, travelers get exclusive access to gyms, pools, spas and lounge facilities at airport hotels without having to book a room. 

Hotel amenities

Hotel choice is an important aspect influencing traveler wellbeing. The survey found that unsatisfactory hotels at bad locations and with poor services are the number four stress factor during a business trip. When it comes to hotel amenities for wellbeing, travelers care most about:

  • Room temperature control
  • Good soundproofing
  • Good ventilation
  • Healthy food
  • Gym or swimming pool

With BCD’s Global Hotel Program, including more than 1.4 million unique hotel properties, companies can offer their travelers hotels with the amenities they want. This will not only improve wellbeing, but also keep travelers within the program and reduce out-of-policy bookings.

For the complete survey results, please click here.

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