August 23, 2018

Happy Travelers, Happy Business: 5 Keys to Launching a Travel Program that will Take Flight

There’s no other option. Your company needs its employees out on the road where they can champion for the company’s success in person, and it’s clear that all that face-to-face time with prospects and clients has been paying off. Studies have shown that new customers are three times more likely to sign after an in-person meeting, and that 28% of current clients would churn without in-person meetings.

But the term road warriors exists for a reason - travel can often feel more like conquering an obstacle course than arriving in style. So it’s no wonder that less than half of business travelers are excited to go on a business trip, citing the stress of planning travel themselves, the hassle of getting there, and dealing with unexpected travel issues.

Your company knows it needs to travel, but you don’t have infinite resources. As the hand-raiser for finding out the best way to implement and manage your company’s travel program, you may feel overwhelmed. Your co-worker’s frustrating flight delay is your frustrating flight delay, and their excitement when they arrive back home after a successful trip is your excitement. Both figuratively and literally, when it comes to business travel you’re all in this together.

So because we care about maximizing happiness and success, here are five key traveler-centric elements to consider when designing your travel program.

1) Empowerment
2) Ease
3) Personalization
4) Perks
5) Support

1) Empowerment
Put Your Travelers in the Driver’s Seat

Your co-workers are already trusted to represent the company at the big client meeting, why should that change when it comes to business travel?

They already know from booking personal travel that there are a wealth of flexible travel options, so taking away all of those options of course makes business travel feel like a lesser experience. Instead, empower your employees to choose a hotel next to their meeting so they have zero stress about being late, or to select a flight that gets them home in time to pick up their kids from school.

2) Ease
Booking Business Travel Shouldn’t Be a Part-Time Job

83% of business travelers say that they regularly spend over an hour booking a business trip. That’s right, one hour. Elite runners can finish a half-marathon in less time, and between searching, applying filters and cross-checking prices on consumer sites, booking business travel can feel like a marathon.

It doesn’t have to be this way. Instead, give your business travelers a one-stop travel shopping experience that frees up their time to focus on what really matters; the reason they’re traveling.

3) Personalization
No Two Travelers Are the Same

One person wants to stay at a favorite hotel chain where they can rack up loyalty points and be as close as possible to the meeting. The other has their eyes on that chic new boutique hotel downtown where they can also network at the wine bar next door.

There are as many travel preferences as there are people, so don’t select a one-size-must-fit-all business travel solution. Instead, look for a solution capable of providing your traveler with results based on their preferences and previous selections. No one will have the exact same travel plans, but they’ll all be happy.

4) Perks
Reward Your Travelers for Making Good Decisions

Personalization and empowerment don’t have to come at a cost to the company when they’re married to a robust rewards program. Hotels and airlines understand the power of an upgrade for travelers, and you can harness that same drive to save money.

Try gamifying travel options so that when, for example, a traveler picks a less expensive hotel they earn points that translate to rewards, like an upgrade or gift cards to spend on the noise canceling headset they have been eying. Employees have said they’re motivated to work harder, and are more emotionally invested, when this type of reward system is in place.

5) Support
Let Your Travelers Know You Have Their Back

Despite your best efforts, reality is that delays and cancellations will happen. It’s how you support your travelers through the unexpected that matters.

Unfortunately, 30% of travelers say they wait in line at the airport counter when a flight is canceled, with another 60% calling their airline or travel agency and less than 7% reporting that their travel solution or agent proactively reached out. That lack of support can understandably leave travelers feeling frustrated and isolated.

The good news is you’re in position to help. Give your travelers a solution that proactively supports them when and they’ll be able to more effectively overcome travel obstacles with minimal stress.

The Solution
Creating a Stress-Free Travel Program

You volunteered to elevate business travel for your company because you care, but the constantly shifting ins and outs or managing a travel program can be overwhelming. With the right strategies and tools though this job can be as rewarding as it is simple. Just remember, you’re not in this alone.
Give your travelers an empowered, personalized, efficient and supported travel experience and you’ll see more than your return on investment when they step into that big client meeting feeling focused and refreshed. To find out how we can bring happiness to your travelers, request a demo with our TripActions team today.