It’s Quality, Not Quantity, That Keeps Road Warriors Happy

by Richard D’Ambrosio
It’s Quality, Not Quantity, That Keeps Road Warriors Happy

Photo: hojohnlee

As companies increase the number of trips their most frequent flyers take, they need to monitor the quality of that travel experience and its impact on employees, says a new MMGY study out this week.

Titled “Traveler Friction: Insights from U.S. Road Warriors,” the study found that travelers’ levels of burnout  are linked to how often they are allowed to stay at five-star hotels, how restrictive their companies’ long-haul air travel policies are, and whether policies differ for different levels of employees.

Asked to prioritize their most-wanted improvements from a list of 24 options, the 757 respondents chose:

  • The ability to take non-stop flights where available.
  • The option to choose more comfortable or convenient hotels.
  • The option to fly in business class on flights of more than six hours.
  • Additional paid time off following a long stretch of travel.

Respondents said these would have “a very or extremely positive” impact on their willingness to stay with their employer, and estimated their productivity would increase by an average of 44%.

The average traveler responding to the survey is a male earning $155,000 per year, married with two children. He takes 26 trips per year, spending 84 nights away from home. He most likely is generally satisfied with their firm’s travel policies.

Examining what industry observers call “traveler friction,” the study found that 15% of these road warriors “are nearly burned out on travel. Half want to travel significantly less in two years; two-thirds believe they could find a good job that doesn’t require much travel, and 80% are interested in job offers from firms that have very favorable travel policies.”

The biggest driver of burnout is still spending nights away from home. Forty-one percent of nearly burned out road warriors worry about the negative impact frequent travel has on their families, and 45% worry about the negative impacts on their health, happiness or personal relationships.

MMGY Global, a leader in travel behavioral insights, created and conducted the study on behalf of ARC, GBT and tClara, in May 2016.

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