Cost-focused travel programs can increase traveller friction: report

Report shows corporate travel policies can sway employee retention

August 15, 2017
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Arlington, Va.—Airlines Reporting Corp. (ARC) has released results of a report concerning frequent business travel and traveller friction, or the wear and tear caused by business travel.

The report, The Hidden Expenses of a Cost-Focused Travel Program, builds upon findings from a 2016 study conducted by for ARC by market research firm MMGY Global, ­in conjunction with American Express Global Business Travel (GBT) and tClara. The report found that according to travellers, cost-focused travel policies carry significant negative consequences in terms of traveler productivity, health, retention and trip effectiveness.

“Trip quality is the key indicator of a traveler-focused program,” said Scott Gillespie, managing partner, tClara. “As trip quality increases, price generally increases, but so does traveller health and safety. At the same time, road-warrior attrition should decline, and the rate of worthwhile trips should increase. I believe the data clearly shows that higher-quality trips provide more value and productivity to the company.”

The results highlighted several notable distinctions between business travellers in cost-focused programs that prioritize cost savings, and those in traveller-focused programs, which emphasize a business traveller’s productivity and satisfaction. These results follow the initial survey findings in the 2016 report, Traveler Friction: Insights from U.S. Road Warriors.

Key findings about road warriors in cost-focused travel programs include:

  1. They reported 22 percent fewer effective trips than colleagues in traveler-focused programs;
  2. They are 13 percent more interested in a new job;
  3. 39 percent more in this group want to travel much less in two years; and
  4. They experienced twice as much traveller friction, including significantly higher rates of sickness, stress and lower quality sleep.

“In our global economy, air travel is an investment to achieve business success for both large and small organizations,” said Lauri Reishus, ARC executive vice-president and chief operating officer. “This report shows us that business travellers from organizations with traveller-focused programs are more likely to see success because they are rested, focused and ready to engage, while road warriors in cost-focused programs have 22 percent fewer effective trips. With this in mind, investing in an employee’s travel experience is a strategy deserving of a closer look by all corporate travel managers.”