Common Challenges Faced by Business Travelers

Common Challenges Faced by Business Travelers

 

Despite remarkable advancements in online conferencing and other innovative technologies such as virtual reality, business travel remains a fundamental, accepted part of modern corporate life. Still business travelers challenges are very common. As more multinational organizations go local, travel has emerged as the primary business development tool and a core driver of new business growth.

Most organizations identify tangible benefits in meeting clients, prospects and other stakeholders in person. Companies estimate that roughly 40% of their prospects convert with an in-person meeting, compared to 16% without any.

Despite a general sense of nervousness about the state of the global economy, the business travel spend is expected to hit $1.6 trillion in 2020. This expected growth has led many stakeholders to consider the challenges in frequent travel.

In one survey, almost 75% of participants said, they felt that business travelers challenges and risks have increased. Popular belief views business travel as a glamourous part of working as an executive. But reality can be quite different. Indeed, frequent, and particularly long-haul, business travel can have a negative impact on a company’s most important asset: its EMPLOYEES.

Safety Concerns

80 percent of women business travelers say safety concerns have impacted their productivity on business trips.

Business travelers have a reputation for resilience, but that doesn’t mean they and their families aren’t worried about safety. The unsafe socio-political regions have proved to create anxiety and deep psychological impact amongst travelers and their families.

The rise of nationalism, extreme weather events, terrorism, data security, racial tensions, escalating geopolitical rhetoric, there’s a seemingly endless list of things for the modern traveler to worry about, all delivered in a relentless 24-hour news cycle.  So, it’s no surprise that safety and disruption are big concerns for many corporate travelers.

Delayed Flights

48% employees identified delayed flight and train departures as a concern

Flight delays are inevitable. Blame it on the weather or the engine, you have to bear with it. A smart way to avoid flight delays is to book flights much ahead of the meeting. Even when the booked flight gets delayed, you will still have time to board the next flight and reach your destination. The other advantage is, you get to take some rest and prepare yourself before heading to work.

Expense Tracking

35% of companies still use a manual based expense reporting system.

Correct and timely reporting of expenses is vital. Among other things, this means that employees can be reimbursed promptly. Yet, employees of over two-thirds (69%) of companies send paper receipts to their finance departments. Similarly, over half of the organizations (58%) reimburse employees via cheque.

These processes are laborious, delay reporting, and adds to the frustration to business travelers or employees. Manual processes erode accuracy and productivity as receipts can be lost on the way and claims attributed to the wrong people. Importantly, the re-work finance teams need to do in order to correct such errors can increase processing times and costs.

Budget Hotels

Only 23% of business travelers say that meeting company policy is the top priority when booking a hotel.

Corporate travelers, on average, spend 20 minutes reading reviews on hotels and lodging travel solutions before booking. One of the most important challenges that you’ll face as a business traveler is staying in shabby, budget hotels. The place looked charming online, had decent reviews, and came at a good price. Then you arrive only to find it all missing. These hotels don’t provide essential amenities. You have to settle for whatever is available. But let’s face it – nobody wants to spend time in such a place even for business travel.

Becoming Sick

A World Bank study found that almost 75% of the staff reported high or very high stress related to business travel.

Full of uncertainty, business travel often places you in high-pressure situations. The last thing you want is to be sick. Out of 2,000 business’ travelers studied, over 23% claimed that they had fallen ill due to business travel.

It’s a common complaint and a logical one. After all, when you’re crammed into that metal bird, your proximity to the other passengers, as well as the recirculation of air, leaves you at serious risk of inhaling someone else’s germy output. Any form of mass transit leaves you sharing air with people who you wouldn’t normally come into contact with.

Unhealthy Food

A World Bank study found that almost 75% of the staff reported high or very high stress related to business travel.

Business trips have plenty of perks – new travel destinations, expense-account meals and an excuse to get out of the office. But these come with a common pitfall. Poor food choices you may make – from client dinners and unhealthy airport fare to the temptation of room service. All can quickly derail your healthy lifestyle.

The continuing need for business travel in an international economy cannot be falsified. Instead, the volume is bound to increase in the coming years.

There is no escaping the fact that there is a continuing need for business travel in an international economy and, indeed, predictions show that it is set to increase in volume in the coming years. Evidence suggests that using business travel to meet face-to-face definitely results in a net positive for multinational companies, but we cannot ignore the science that tells us that there can also be losses in the long term with all the frequent travel having a negative impact on their employees’ health and productivity. Frequent, long-haul and lengthy periods of business travel increases the risk of a variety of mental and physical health problems. It also exposes employees to security and safety issues.

Unhealthy, tired and stressed employees who lack free time, rest periods and time for a personal life will ultimately affect a company’s bottom line.

A Balanced Approach Towards Business Travel

Without recognizing these risks, a company cannot put in place the solutions and practices from the corporate culture to the increasingly flexible ways of working. The first step for organizations that don’t have these measures in place is perhaps to balance the cost to business of ill-health and poor productivity against the cost of investing in higher-end travel options and time off in lieu and to calculate a reasonably balanced approach that will benefit both the employees and the organization alike to help mitigate the problem and lessen the negative outcomes.

 

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