BCD survey reveals that traveler wellness is a top priority, but companies fail to give it priority

UTRECHT, The Netherlands, March 12, 2019 – Traveler wellness and satisfaction are the third-highest priority among corporate travel managers after cost control and duty of care, according to a recent survey of 53 travel managers from around the globe. The survey was conducted by the leading travel management company, BCD Travel.

Of the survey respondents, 72% name talent attraction and talent retainment as the number one reason why traveler wellness is important. Nevertheless, traveler wellness is often neglected in travel policies. While 55% of the respondents indicate their companies have an employee wellness program in place, only 11% designed a wellness program for their travelers.

“After bringing savings and cost under control, travel managers are sometimes challenged to decide ‘what’s next?’ Research such as the wellness survey can help travel managers identify opportunities that position their travel program as a driver of innovation for the company as a whole,” says Jorge Cruz, Executive Vice President, Global Sales and Marketing at BCD Travel. “By contributing to a traveler wellness program that keeps frequent travelers such as sales employees satisfied, travel managers can help a company to outperform their competition and thus create an effect much larger than just happy travelers.”

The results of the survey point to a big gap between the wellness initiatives travel managers find important and those that are actually in place, especially when it comes to health and work-life balance. The survey found:

  • 95% of respondents rate recommendations for restaurants with healthy menus important but only 14% of companies provide such referrals.
  • 90% of respondents think psychological support for travelers is necessary, but only 14% have such support actually in place.
  • 90% of respondents believe time-off after a long trip is essential, but only 17% recognize this in their travel policies.

The survey also found there is room for improvement in closing gaps between policy and traveler expectations in the area of air and hotel wellness initiatives:

  • More than 83% of the respondents rate airplane class/cabin upgrades as important but only 29% of travel policies allow these. The situation with hotel upgrades is similarly unbalanced, 82% vs. 18%.
  • 78% of respondents state that lounge access is important, but only 22% of companies include that in their travel policy.
  • 76% say it’s important to avoid traveling over the weekend, yet only 36% made that part of their travel policy.

“Corporate travel can be exhausting. Business travelers are faced with the disruptions and uncertainties of navigating unknown territory. Being away from the comforts of familiar surroundings influences their well-being and happiness. It’s anything but business as usual,” says Natalia Tretyakevich, Senior Manager, Research and Intelligence at BCD Travel. “The research reveals that traveler wellness can be achieved by a few actions such as seat upgrades, restaurant recommendations, or offering hotels with fitness amenities.”

What can travel managers do to accommodate traveler wellness in travel programs? Here are some suggestions to get started:

  • Make traveler wellness initiatives part of your annual supplier negotiations. Include lounge access and upgrades in your discussions.
  • Measure traveler satisfaction through regular surveys, and incorporate more data sources from third parties. Revisit your travel policy, and include more wellness offerings based on data insights.
  • Add hotels that offer fitness and wellness amenities to your program.
  • Add recommendations for healthy food options at the locations most frequented by your travelers.
  • Keep travelers productive and informed on the road with alerts and tailored messaging.

You can find more details of our traveler wellness survey in this infographic.