According to the CWT Connected Traveler Study, released today by Carlson Wagonlit Travel, business travelers are bringing more devices, and feel more productive as they are on the road conducting business. The survey of more than 1,900 business travelers found that travelers on average carry four different types of technology (mobile phone, tablet, laptop, etc.), with the smartphone being the one “travel tool they can’t live without,” as more than 80% of travelers across the globe rely on their phone to conduct business.
With technology, most travelers (88%) believe travel is easier to navigate today. This has led a significant majority of travelers (78%) to seek opportunities to travel for work and nearly as many find business travel to be stimulating (72%). Business travelers in India like to travel and an overwhelming majority (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.
Today’s travelers are experienced and use that knowledge to plan their trips. More than half (55%) of travelers 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 travelers (45%) while map apps also see heavy use (41%).
“The business traveler can be so much more productive than even five years ago thanks to technology,” said Simon Nowroz, chief marketing officer, Carlson Wagonlit Travel. “Think about the advances where a business traveler 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, travelers 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 travelers (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. Resonating with the global findings, significantly more respondents from India (87%) also said that the positives outweigh the negatives when it comes to building and maintaining relationships at home.
Business travelers did have two key areas of concern.
Two-thirds (67%) of travelers said they believe travel is safer today. However, nearly half (46%) remain concerned about their safety. This has led more travelers (68%) to “sometimes or always” purchase travel insurance. Business travelers also have difficulties maintaining routines and wellness. More than half of travelers (54%) say that their exercise and wellness habits are disrupted when they travel.
According to the study, as travelers connect with co-workers or family, they often use different methods. With family or friends, travelers 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 travelers felt more in control (84%) in being able to manage their responsibilities compared to Americas (76%) and EMEA (73%) travelers. Travelers 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 travelers 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 travelers in the Americas tried significantly harder to stay connected with family (50%) than APAC (31%) and EMEA (27%) travelers. APAC travelers 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%) travelers.
“There are many variables that can make a business trip a success or a failure in the eyes of the traveler,” said Nowroz. “The easier we can make it for travelers to be organized, the more we help them have a better overall experience.”