On Valentine’s Day, your Facebook page is bound to be riddled with photos of your coupled friends taking off on romantic getaways to popular destinations like New York, San Francisco, and Paris. If you’ve visited any of these renowned cities only to see the inside of a conference hall, then there’s probably no love lost between you and business travel. Work travel is a chore.
Millennial employees—the new de facto business traveler—L-O-V-E this chore. Nearly half of millennials wish they could make more business trips. This is opposite of Gen Xers and Boomers of which only 29% and 15% wish they were taking more trips. For millennials, business travel is an opportunity to experience something new.
There are very few things we, as millennials, love more than bad reality television and avocados on everything, but one thing we truly value is a good time. If you want employees to do their best work, you’ll help them be their best selves. No matter how enthusiastic millennial employees are about new experiences, business travel can be hard for a generation that feels the struggle of leaving a young family behind to go work in a different city or country. On top of that, there’s nothing worse than traveling to a cool city only to be confined to a drab hotel with nothing but an office park within walking distance.
No pressure, but your travel policy has a huge impact on your employees’ overall travel experience. Sometimes organizations are so focused on cutting costs, that they forget that travel management is about travelers. Just as it’s important to have rules and procedures in place, it’s also important to ensure that those rules and procedures contribute to employee productivity and well-being.
So, how do you make work travel more loveable, and thereby more productive, for all your employees? To get the best performance from both veteran and newbie business travelers, companies need to focus on providing a personalized travel experience. Try these three tweaks to create a travel experience that employees will love, or at least like:
- Make trip planning quick and easy by providing booking support. Even better, you could allow employees the flexibility to book their own trips where they find it most convenient. Consider limiting this flexibility to only US-travel. Many companies with global travelers require employees to use travel management companies (TMCs) for safety reasons—to track employees while they’re traveling abroad.
- Allow a reasonable range of options for flights, hotels, and rental cars. For instance, taking an Uber to the airport, flying an airline where the employee earns points, or staying in an Airbnb with an interesting host instead of a chain hotel off the freeway
- Take a page from Google by giving employees a material incentive to spend less. Google’s travelers earn credits for future travel upgrades by coming in under their business trip budget
These small but impactful changes go a long way in personalizing business travel. With more freedom and flexibility to book “outside of the box,” your travelers will be able to experience that cool city instead of just sleep there for a couple of nights. Also, since these more personalized options often cost less than the average hotel or taxi ride, your organization will likely save money on flights, hotels, and car rental bookings.
Ultimately, it’s the employee experience that matters, and a happy business traveler is a productive business traveler. It’s up to organizations to ensure the business travel experience is as stress-free and efficient as possible for their employees. While business travel will never reach the caliber of a romantic Valentine’s getaway, your travelers will feel the love and extra care you take to ensure that the right tools and services are in place to personalize their traveling experiences.