Much has changed since air miles and upgrades were the peak of perks for business travellers, according to the Business Travel and Technology Study by Egencia, the business travel company of Expedia. The results indicate that for travelers, mobile technology and constant connectivity are now the must-haves for productive and enjoyable business travel.
In a shift of priorities, free wi-fi is now deemed twice as important (67%) as free breakfast (32%); and hot-spots are now more important than parking spots, with only 33% of travelers preferring free parking. Attitudes are also shifting about what a business trip should include. When asked what they like most about business travel, “seeing new places” and “having new experiences” account for 62% of the responses.
These findings reflect a growing convergence between business and leisure travel. As the two types of trips converge, industry experts predict that travelers will increasingly expect business travel to offer the same convenience and connectivity as a leisure travel experience. Mixing business with pleasure is not uncommon, with over half of respondents (54%) adding personal holidays on to their business trips in 2014.
The findings support previous Egencia findings, which see the traveler of tomorrow operating in an ever-more fluid space. They expect to move seamlessly from device to device; from online to offline and back again; from business to leisure and vice versa. Mobile is their personal assistant, the airport is their office and friends and family just a tap away.
“Travelers tell us they want easy, productive business trips, and an experience they can enjoy. The study helps companies think about how to better meet travelers’ demands through smart, intuitive technology and service,” said Graham Kingsmill, managing director of Egencia UK.
When asked what they felt about business travel, respondents answered that the two emotions they most associate with it are stress (48%) and exhaustion (41%). Contributing to that may be the fact that 40% of their travel time is deemed unproductive. When asked what helped with productivity, travelers preferred smartphones/mobile devices the most (61%), shortly followed by the use of a laptop (54%).
Despite the stress, travelers seem to be keeping their sense of humor. Asked what they wished they could do on business trips through social media, responses included:
• “Book a handsome guy to pick me up in a sports car and take me out.”
• “Tell people how much money I’ve made but I don’t want to seem like a t***.”
• “Get my work done by someone else.”
Egencia commissioned an independent polling company, OnePoll to question 1,000 business travelers in the UK, France and Germany.