A company’s most frequent travellers are often the people who help build the business. They work in highly valued roles, forging relationships and pursuing opportunities in new cities and countries. Yet the travel toll on these people can be enormous. Too much ‘travel friction’ can erode their productivity, cause burnout and attrition, and impose substantial hidden costs on their employers.
Travel friction gaining traction
Travel friction refers to negative impacts on travelling employees, and often diminishes their comfort and productivity. In an age when travel is increasingly necessary for businesses to expand, travel friction is a growing issue.
Many corporate travellers feel some degree of friction or stress on each trip. Whether young jetsetters unfazed by change, or road warriors with years of business travel under their belts, travellers can be slowed down by a myriad of elements. These range from delays, to travel outside regular business hours, endless taxi queues, and hotels with noisy rooms and limited facilities. Travellers’ health and wellbeing can also be affected by different diet, limited or no exercise, and the inability to have a good night’s sleep while they are on the road.
Travel friction not only affects travellers. It can also impact an employee’s company and add further indirect costs to the booking price of flights, ground transportation and accommodation through:
Lost time and productivity: when planning itineraries, companies and their travellers need to weigh up the savings of discounted flights and hotel rooms with the impacts on productivity if their travellers are overtired or have limited and expensive connectivity access. The impacts of traveller stress are difficult to measure in dollar terms, but when factoring in the average hourly rate of employee time, it is clear that the cost of lost productivity is significant.
Additional costs: to improve employee comfort and productivity, such as dining, car parking, valet parking and internet connection costs within hotels.
Traveller burnout: can lead to employee dissatisfaction and attrition. Employers need to demonstrate their duty of care by regularly monitoring the wellbeing of their frequent travellers and proactively managing the load and comfort level of their travel. Traveller stress creates hidden costs on top of the hard cost of business travel.
Travelling smarter to reduce friction
As every corporate journey can be affected by elements outside the traveller’s control, it is impossible to eliminate stress. Companies can however, reduce the impacts on productivity by helping to make work trips more comfortable. One solution is to focus on traveller needs and comfort as much as cost-saving policies. Employees don’t necessarily need to travel less – they need to travel smarter.
SmartSTAY – enhancing the traveller experience
SmartSTAY launched in 2013, following the increasing desire for companies to look after the well being of their business travellers. This innovative value added hotel program has transformed the corporate travel business, offering travellers extras in their accommodation, at no additional cost.
In 2016, the program has over 5,000 participating hotel properties worldwide, with every SmartSTAY guest enjoying a minimum of three complimentary value-added services. The program is valid year-round and benefits guests with greater comfort and convenience, while creating savings for their company’s bottom line.
SmartSTAY not only helps reduce soft dollar costs by relieving traveller stress and supporting productivity, but also provides hard dollar savings for companies.
SmartSTAY partner hotels always offer:
1. A minimum three value-added benefits (at least one exclusive to SmartSTAY)
2. Flexible corporate rates
3. Validity all year round
4. No extra costs.
SmartSTAY delivers multi-level benefits by giving travellers more in their hotel stay without impacting employers’ travel budgets. It is the perfect complement to corporate clients’ travel programs. It helps companies optimise their travellers’ well-being while staying focused on their travel policy and savings. It also helps take the stress out of business travel for employees and gives employers peace of mind that their people are travelling comfortably and productively. Both parties have instant fingertip access to all the SmartSTAY information they need, using the SmartSTAY mobile app.
Average worldwide savings on complimentary value adds*
*Savings are based on average benchmark figures obtained through negotiated client programs and can vary per property. Savings are in local currency, Asia in Singapore dollars.