AMSTERDAM, 24 August 2017: Business travellers are taking more devices than ever on their trips, and feel more productive about conducting business while on the road, according to the CWT Connected Traveller Study, released last Friday by Carlson Wagonlit Travel.
The survey of more than 1,900 business travellers found that they carry on average three different types of technology (mobile, tablet, laptop), with the smartphone being the one “travel tool they can’t live without.
The study showed that 80% of those surveyed rely on their phone to conduct business.
With technology, most travellers (88%) believe travel is easier to navigate today. This has led a significant majority of travellers (78%) to seek opportunities to travel for work and nearly as many find business travel to be stimulating (72%).
Today’s travellers are experienced and use that knowledge to plan their trips.
More than half (55%) of travellers rely on prior travel experience while planning trips, in addition to hotel websites (54%) and airline websites (50%). Airline and hotel apps make up the bulk of app usage for travellers (45%), while map apps also see heavy use (41%).
“The business traveller can be so much more productive than even five years ago thanks to technology,” said Carlson Wagonlit Travel chief marketing officer, Simon Nowroz.
“Think about the advances where a business traveller used to have so much down time between a flight, taxi and hotel. Now, they can login and work, while on the plane or wherever they happen to be. With the continued emergence of the tablet, as well as numerous apps, travellers don’t feel out of touch as they carry out business.”
According to the study, work-based relationships and productivity are strengthened through business travel. Nearly 9 in 10 business travellers (86%) said travel helped them build new knowledge and perspective, while 80% said business travel boosted their productivity. Additionally, more than 9 in 10 (93%) said that travel positives outweighed negatives when it comes to building and maintaining relationships at work, while nearly 8 in 10 (77%) say the same about their home lives.
Business travellers did have two key areas of concern.
Two-thirds (67%) of travellers said they believe travel is safer today. However, nearly half (46%) remain concerned about their safety. This has led more travellers (68%) to “sometimes or always” purchase travel insurance. Business travellers also have difficulties maintaining routines and wellness. More than half of travellers (54%) say that their exercise and wellness habits are disrupted when they travel.
According to the study, as travellers connect with co-workers or family, they often use different methods. With family or friends, travellers chose calling (44%), Skype (24%) and text (17%) as their preferred communication methods. However, they connect with co-workers differently: email (44%), calling (24%) and texting (14%).
There were similarities across the Americas, EMEA and APAC. However, APAC travellers felt more in control (84%) in being able to manage their responsibilities compared to Americas (76%) and EMEA (73%) travellers. Travellers from APAC (53%) were also more likely to say that travel took time away from other work, causing their co-workers to pick up some of the slack.
When it comes to personal relationships, around a quarter of travellers from the Americas felt that travel strained their relationship with their spouse or significant other (27%), more than their EMEA and APAC counterparts (22%). This is likely the reason that travellers in the Americas tried significantly harder to stay connected with family (50%) than APAC (31%) and EMEA (27%) travellers. APAC travellers were more likely to miss important events – with more than half (51%) missing at least two social events or occasions within the past 12 months compared to EMEA (44%) or Americas (42%) travellers
“There are many variables that can make a business trip a success or a failure in the eyes of the traveller,” said Nowroz. “The easier we can make it for travellers to be organised, the more we help them have a better overall experience.”
Singapore travelers appear to prefer the business travel experience over leisure travel. According to the study, more than half (53%) of respondents from Singapore believe that booking business travel is easier than booking their leisure travel, with the most common reason (42%) saying they have better online tools.
While mobile phone use is high across the region, Singapore travellers rely heavily on their computers. The results of the data show that 73% bring a computer with on business, which may seem low, but is 13% higher than the next country in the region.
Australian business travellers tend to be travellers of habit and self-reliance as 64% of respondents from Australia rely on their past travel experience the most when it comes to planning their future travel.
This self-reliance has led to a feeling of security as only 25% said they are more sensitive to security risks.
When it comes to being social while travelling, Australians are split, with 52% wanting to be more social and 48% wanting to keep to themselves.
Australians also tend to fall away from their wellness routine while traveling, with 61% saying they get less exercise when they travel.
Chinese travellers are able to maintain a strong work ethic while on the road. More than 9 of 10 respondents said that business travel enhances their productivity.
Family and co-workers are very important to the Chinese business traveller as more than two-thirds (68%) said the biggest challenge to business travel is staying connected to friends and co-workers.
And, nearly half (47%) say they make an effort to stay connected with their family while traveling. The importance of family also leads to family going on business trips, almost 19% of Chinese travellers will bring a family member or friend with on their business trips.
Indian respondents overwhelmingly (92%) said they look forward to business travel and an almost equal amount (89%) said they seek out opportunities to travel for work.
Additionally, more than any other country in the region, Indian respondents (72%) travel more to both domestic and international destinations.
And, significantly more respondents from India (87%) said that the positives outweigh the negatives when it comes to building and maintaining relationships at home.
Japanese business travellers showed some interesting, and at times, conflicting trends.
Of all Asia Pacific countries, Japanese travellers have the greatest appetite for travel. On average, survey respondents from Japan say that 10 business trips per year is a good average.
This is why Japanese business travellers are more likely (54%) than others from the region to say that business travel builds trust.
However, nearly the same number (47%) say the negatives of travel outweigh the positives – nearly double any other country in the region.
But, Japanese travellers do stick with their regimens as nearly two-thirds (64%) continue their exercise programme while traveling.
About the survey
The CWT Connected Traveller Study was created by Carlson Wagonlit Travel and conducted through Artemis Strategy Group March 30-April 24, 2017. Survey data was collected from more than 1,900 business travellers between the ages of 25-65 from the Americas (Brazil, Canada, Chile, Mexico and the United States), EMEA (France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom) and APAC (Australia, China, India, Japan and Singapore). To participate in the study, business travellers were required to have made more than four business trips within the past 12 months. The purpose of this study is, to understand how business travellers stayed connected to both work and home while on the road.