Corporate travel can be a thrilling experience. Exciting cities, promising meetings, networking fun and career advancement all make travelling on business rewarding and enjoyable.
However, it can also be lonely, frustrating and stressful.
Leaving friends and family at home, grappling with language barriers, exchange rates and unfamiliar surrounds, endless airport queues and even the lingering fear of natural disasters, sickness and terrorism - there are countless sources of travel stress.
Below we outline the three main offenders, and offer simple strategies for managing them overseas.
No matter how entertaining the in-flight movies, or how spacious the legroom, sitting stationary on a lengthy international flight can be a tiring undertaking.
Throw in the ever-present threat of cancellations and delays, the exhausting rigmarole of customs and immigration and the dreaded crying child sitting behind you, and flying becomes one of the most stressful elements of business travel.
In fact, a recent report found 66.6% of international travellers cited flight delays and cancellations as their main source of travel stress. The same report also found;
- 56.8% of travellers said people kicking their seat was the most annoying part of flying,
- 35.5% said the person in front reclining their seat was the most annoying part of flying,
- 24.5% said a lack of space in overhead compartments was the most annoying part of flying,
- 18.7% said people who obstructed the aisles were the most annoying part of flying.
So what can corporate travellers do to combat in-flight stressors?
Well, they don’t call it business class for nothing. The in-flight annoyances listed above all relate to a lack of space, so would largely be avoided in the more spacious business class seats.
Travel managers and CFOs can be tempted to opt for the significantly cheaper economy and premium economy seats. However, investing in the comfort of travelling employees is a sure way to keep them positive and productive overseas.
Using an effective travel management platform, upgrading the seats of your business travellers is possible even with a restrictive budget. With the right technology, locating savings in all areas of the itinerary frees up the extra money needed to invest in comfort. For example, managers can be confident they have found the best possible deals with a powerful booking tool.
2. Unfamiliar Environments
Being thrust into an unfamiliar city can be stressful for even the most seasoned travellers. When they have a high-stakes meeting that afternoon, mild concern can easily become absolute panic.
Navigating transportation, unfamiliar currencies and languages is difficult without effective planning. Thankfully, business travellers can arm themselves with smartphone applications to alleviate a number of these travel stresses;
Know Where You’re Going by using a mapping app like AroundMe. More than a Google Maps service, AroundMe integrates with other apps like Booking.com, Opentable.com and FourSquare, allowing you to browse restaurants, cafes, local guides and more.
Know What You’re Paying by using a currency exchange app like Currency. Currency gives up-to-the-minute exchange rates for over 150 currencies and countries.
Know What You’re Saying by using a translation app like Google Translate. Or better yet, download a language learning app like Duolingo to show your business partners their connection means a lot to you.
Often, the best remedy to feeling out of place overseas is keeping contact with friends, family and colleagues at home. The best travel management platforms have effective messaging tools so travellers never feel disconnected. Better yet, travellers can also feel safe in the knowledge that any plan changes or updates will be communicated to them in a timely way.
3. Management Stress
Let’s recap; 66.6% of travellers find flight delays and cancellations to be the most stressful part of international travel. 38% of travellers say researching flight and accommodation bookings is the biggest source of stress during the travel experience.
Although there is a do-it-yourself culture to organising international travel today, travellers who decide to go it alone often find themselves struggling under the weight of complicated itineraries, untrustworthy booking sites and ballooning costs.
Corporate travellers in particular simply can’t afford to be grappling with itinerary disruptions when they’re supposed to be landing deals.
Handing the heavy lifting to a travel manager or a corporate travel agent is the surest way for business travellers to avoid costly management stress overseas. Travel managers and agents who use an effective travel management platform can seamlessly manage a business trip from end-to-end, allowing the road warriors to focus on the things that matter.