As discussed in a recent Atlas article, a company’s travel program can be an effective tool for attracting talent and keeping current employees engaged, especially in today’s competitive job market.
Which benefits companies should use to entice talent will depend on a variety of factors. Each organization will need to draw their own conclusions about the best way to achieve a traveler-pleasing program, but to help get you started, below are some questions to identify what aspects may require fine-tuning.
Where are your travelers experiencing friction?
From flight cancellations to restless nights jet-lagged in unfamiliar hotel rooms, business trips can be full of inconveniences that wear on a traveler’s psyche, so put yourself in your employees’ shoes by considering their top travel frustrations, from the booking phase to post-trip acclimatization, and what you can do to alleviate them. To pinpoint the pain points, ask yourself:
- What kind of support do employees receive during travel disruptions? Do they have tools available to them that offer assistance?
- How easy or complicated is it for travelers to submit expenses? Is there a way to expedite the reimbursement process?
- What kind of perks are offered to travelers to make their journeys smoother and more enjoyable? For instance, do travelers get reimbursed for benefits like access to the airport lounge, TSA PreCheck and in-flight internet connectivity?
How does your policy compare?
Of course, your travel policy has been set to meet your company’s unique needs and objectives, but it’s still smart to know what kind of travel perks the competition is offering to their employees, right?
Enter Peer Travel Insights™ (PTI), our new benchmarking tool that uses advanced data science to reveal how your program stacks up to those of other companies in your industry. And through PTI’s traveler well-being dashboard, you can gauge how well (or not) your organization is meeting travelers’ needs compared to those of your peers.
Other points to consider:
- What aspects of the policy do travelers resist most? What might entice them to book with your preferred suppliers?
- Is there a policy regarding business class for international flights? How does it compare to what others in the industry offer?
- When/if business class is not an option, may travelers book premium economy instead?
- How are the lowest logical airfare (LLA) policies impacting the traveler experience? Are employees forced to book non-direct flights and deal with long layovers to meet LLA guidelines?
- What ancillary costs are covered by the company? How do these compare to what your peers may offer?
- What kind of accommodation options are within policy? Are there enough options to keep travelers satisfied?
What is the traveler’s experience like?
Business travelers today can have many needs. They may want a seamless booking process, personalized experiences and plenty of choices regarding where they stay and how they get there. It may not be feasible to fulfill every one of their expectations, but answering these questions can help you figure out where to invest your resources:
- May travelers book departing flights that are convenient with their schedule, not necessarily just the cheapest one available?
- Does the program afford travelers flexibility in terms of where they may lodge? Are in-policy hotels located near meeting venues? And are alternative accommodations an option?
- Are travelers allowed to take time off or work from home to recover after a long-haul trip?
- What tools does the company provide so travelers may stay connected and productive while traveling?
- Are you working with suppliers to improve your travelers’ experience?
At what level is the company engaging its travelers?
Your organization may be perceived to have a program that truly accommodates its travelers, but if the benefits are not being communicated to current employees and job candidates and you are not soliciting their feedback, the reality may be far from the perception.
To see how you’re faring in this department, ask:
- How much are the travel and human resources departments working together to educate potential and current employees about program benefits?
- Are you sending communications to employees about the travel policy and demonstrating “what’s in it for them?”
- Are you regularly surveying travelers to understand what elements of the program are (not) working for them?
- Does the program take into account the language and cultural differences of travelers?
- In what ways is the travel team engaging employees? And how frequently?
Once you have clarity on the direction to take to make the program more traveler-friendly, there’s just one more question to ask: How will you implement these changes? Stay up to date on business travel news throughout this process, and if you need assistance devising a strategy, our travel consulting team is capable of working with you to develop a customized change management plan.