Sustainable Travel: How to manage traveler wellbeing during business trips

A guest blog from Amelie Losanes, Senior Consultant, Sustainable Collaboration, Advito

Amelie Losanes, Senior Consultant, Sustainable Collaboration, Advito

Providing value and comfort to business travelers can be a major challenge when integrating sustainability into a travel program. However, with the right strategy in place, sustainability and wellness can make your travel program attractive for your employees and help reduce environmental threats. Help your business travelers manage their wellbeing by guiding them to travel that’s purposeful, comfortable, and smart.

Travel with purpose and help reduce emissions

When it comes to business travel, one of the easiest ways to reduce emissions is to simply travel less. This doesn’t mean cancelling business trips, but rather assessing each one and ensuring travelers only go on the road when necessary. Introduce a ‘stay or go’ framework to empower travelers to make confident decisions that align with your company goals. A bonus? Fewer business trips don’t just help the environment; travelers also gain time to get things done in the office and in their personal lives.

Travel comfortably

By lowering the number of trips annually and working closely with your suppliers, you may be able to tap your budget to provide your business travelers with upgrades, like seats with more legroom. Employees who arrive rested are likely to be more productive.

Convenient and comfortable hotels 

Assemble a strong portfolio of hotels that your travelers can use and feel good about. When selecting hotels, focus on a few key elements:

  • proximity to the office or location where business will be conducted
  • level of comfort and amenities
  • sustainability initiatives or eco-certifications.

It’s important to note that the carbon footprint of a hotel night is a fraction of that of a flight. By offering eco-certified hotels to your travelers, you provide them with other guarantees: the hotel commitment to managing their water, energy and waste better along with actively working on being a key player in protecting the local economy and biodiversity.

Train vs. plane 

Taking a train is on average 20 times more carbon efficient than flying. Trains have wellness benefits, too, like more legroom and space to move about. Prioritizing the train is a good option in markets such as Europe, China, Japan, the U.S. East Coast and the U.S. Pacific Northwest.

Business class for long-haul flights 

When travel policy and scheduling permit, book travelers in the best possible class of service on flights with few or no layovers.

Picking the right car size

Remind travelers that car size matters. Guide your travelers to book a car that makes sense for their trips without compromising their wellness and security. If public transportation or ridesharing aren’t feasible, encourage travelers to book the smallest possible vehicle that will accommodate all passengers.

Eating healthy on the road

Provide your travelers guides to healthy dining options. Did you know eating less meat is good for the environment? As a matter of fact, if every person on Earth reduced their meat consumption by half, the CO2 saving would be equivalent to what the airline industry emits in an entire year.

Travel smart

There’s no singular approach for balancing sustainable practices with traveler wellness. Analyzing your employees’ booking and travel patterns may reveal potential pain points in your program. Some questions to ask are: When and how often are your employees traveling? Do they cross any time zones on the given trip? Are they using direct flights or connected ones? How much time are they on the road vs. at home in a month’s time?

Jetlag can be quite disruptive to your traveler’s health and productivity, as sleep patterns shift to a new region. Some business travelers also report traveling for work outside of business hours or during the weekend. These factors are extremely important to consider as they can lead to frustration and burnout. Some solutions could be to encourage travelers to combine meetings to reduce overall number of trips, verify whether a local colleague can attend a meeting, check if the destination can be adjusted so less travel is required, etc. Another way to bring positive change could be to shift from a cost policy to a traveler-focused policy where comfort and quality comes first.

For more guidance on building wellbeing and sustainability into your trave program, contact your program manager. Not a BCD Travel or Advito client? Contact us.

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