Easing traveler friction for your stressed out business travelers
Have you heard the latest industry buzz word, permanxiety? According to this Skift article, this is defined as, "a near-constant state of anxiety that exists around the world." As a whole, business travelers have good reason for their apprehension.
Employees traveling for work should be able to count on their organizations and travel managers to ease their worries and avoid traveler friction. How can you do your part? Read on.
7 Traveler Anxiety Triggers + Solutions:
#1: The Booking Process
"How do I know what I can book? What's approved? Do I have a seat assignment? I booked basic economy, and now have to pay to check my bag at the gate because I don’t qualify for overhead bin space?!"
An organized travel policy and/or online booking tool is a big step forward here. Even still, 51% of employees have booked out of policy to lower stress and anxiety around the trip, and not having a seat assignment is ranked among the top issues for permanxiety. As a travel manager, how can you help? A good place to start is blocking the basic economy option from your travel policy because of its strict limitations. (In fact, according to CNBC, three-quarters of American Express Global Business Travel clients blocked their employees from buying basic economy flights in July 2017, up from two-thirds less than a year earlier).
#2: Experience Management
"Does my flight have Wi-Fi? Do I have TSA PreCheck? Where is my gate?
Our agents have instant visibility into which flights have Wi-Fi and are constantly using this as a quick, helpful resource for business travelers. For frequent travelers, it might even pay off to prepay for an annual in-flight Wi-Fi membership with GoGo for their preferred airline. In addition, itinerary management apps like Tripit (from Concur) and TripCase will keep all important details organized (including up-to-date gate changes), which keeps travelers aware and efficient.
#3: Travel Bans + Regulations
"I've heard about laptops being banned once... Are there any new rules that I don't know about? Can I take yogurt on the plane?"
We strive to be a resource for travel education, and go above and beyond to communicate relevant changes to your traveler that could disrupt their usual travel habits. In addition, TSA's app and live chat feature can answer any question about what your travelers can or cannot take onboard.
"Will I have to pay for my bags? If they get lost, will I get reimbursed?"
Our online booking tools reveal upfront baggage costs, but keep in mind that frequent flyer status can reduce or eliminate bag costs altogether. Insurance policies can cover lost luggage, and live agents can advise the best option when in doubt. For those who can't afford to lose their suit (or have wrinkles, for that matter), a service called DUFL will ship, clean, and store a traveler's personal business attire between trips.
#5: Unfamiliarity with Destination
"I don't know anything about Chicago. Where should I take the client to eat? Do I walk or drive?"
In short, the more your travelers know about their trip, the more at ease they are. Gems like City Mapper will help your travelers decide on the best transportation options. Grab is Southeast Asia's taxi cab app, which syncs to Lyft when you're in the U.S. One tip we love: have your travelers go to Google Maps and check out a street view of their hotel and surroundings before they arrive- it does wonders to jump start the familiarization process.
"Will I be safe? What unforeseen events might I face? Is there terrorism where I am headed? What if I miss my flight?"
Our SafetoGo dashboard gives travel managers access to the location of every traveler. In addition, we send out proactive travel alerts and give access to 24/7 support. There is a mobile app option as well. You may want to encourage your travelers to download Companion, an on-call security app that offers real time traveler monitoring and communication to the traveler's desired contacts.
"I am already tired tomorrow. How am I going to keep up with my objectives without exhaustion?"
We love helping travelers achieve work/life balance. We suggest implementing a bleisure policy and leverage your TMC partnership for a seamless transition. Want to learn more? Ask us about our vendor discounts and leisure resources.
At the end of the day, communication is key in easing traveler friction and anxiety around travel, as is noted in the below reference from GBTA:
"Communication plays an important role in the overall traveler experience. When asked what travel information is most useful for reducing stress, safety, transportation and information about the destination topped the list for many. Understanding how to best deliver and make these types of information available to travelers is key."
If you need help implementing an effective communication plan in place for your travelers, we would love to help.