Focus: The opportunities and challenges for the travel payments industry

The opportunities and challenges for the travel payments industryAngel Gallego, Executive Vice President, Corporations, Travel Channels, Amadeus

Business travel has become an integral part of business, with more people taking to the skies to connect with stakeholders across the world. With the global business travel spend set to reach $1.7 trillion in 2022,  and with a growing number of frequent fliers, businesses must also be wary of burnout, making sure to consider how to mitigate the potential negative impacts of regular travel on employee health and well-being.

Despite growing interest in traveler well-being, there is still a long way to go when it comes to protecting business traveler health. According to the findings of a recent Amadeus white paper, almost half (44%) of surveyed travel managers have no duty of care responsibilities. When set against the 1 in 5 employees that find travelling decreases their productivity, the need for action is clear. So, how do we create better travel conditions for frequent fliers? 

Travel Policy
Creation of an effective corporate travel policy is vital to ensuring the well-being of a company’s regular travelers. A good starting point is addressing the principal stress factors associated with business travel. Delayed or lost baggage came out as the number one cause of stress according to Amadeus research. As such, the inclusion of effective disruption management tools in a policy is critical in managing traveler stress. Technological advances such as the introduction of real-time disruption alerts and automated mobile rebooking for cancelled flights reduce these points of traveler stress, benefiting overall well-being.

Education
The global wellness industry is now valued at $4.2 trillion,  revealing the booming number of people focusing on living a healthy lifestyle. Travel managers should respond to this wave of health consciousness through introducing specific training on nutrition, exercise and sleep practices for their business travelers. This will work to reduce likelihood of adopting unhealthy habits on the road and thereby minimize the stress associated with developing such behaviors.

Flexibility
Offering increased trip flexibility can make a considerable difference in promoting an enjoyable journey. In allowing employees to choose their accommodation type or tack on a day or two of holiday to their trip, businesses can make steps to minimize the stress incurred with travel. Accommodating for the emerging trend of ‘bleisure’ can heighten overall trip satisfaction through reducing stress caused by early or late flights as well as offering recovery time from tiring business engagements. Furthermore, this policy serves the added benefit of responding to the calls of employees for greater personalization and unique experiences.

Whilst travel is often lauded as a ‘work perk’, this might not be the case for everyone. It is therefore essential that companies take into account differing attitudes towards travel, alongside professional experience, when selecting employees for business trips. If businesses wish to remain successful and protect employee retention, they must invest in the health and well-being of their business travelers. Through the implementation of an efficient travel policy, companies can expect to see a workforce that is more productive, more present and more likely to drive profitability.

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