Business travel should be more about business
and less about travel. Yet the stress of being on the road can reduce productivity
during the trip and even lead to time off work afterward to recover. Weighing
the human cost of savings when flying economy or checking into low-end hotels is
only just starting to be understood.
There are three main categories of stress
that road warriors deal with: lost time when they cannot work, surprises such
as delayed flights, and routine breakers when they fail to keep up with daily
habits, according to an October survey
of 6,000 business travellers by Carlson
Wagonlit Travel (CWT), a travel management company.
“Making better decisions for travellers is
not about moving everyone from economy to business class, it’s about booking a
trip that reduces stress,” said Vincent Lebunetel, head of CWT Solutions Group.
“Avoiding inconvenient hotel locations or connecting flights helps.”
According to Adam Knights, group marketing
director at travel management company ATPI, the
single biggest factor they encounter in traveller feedback surveys relates to
when things go wrong, “These include things like fog at Heathrow airport, the
volcanic eruption in Iceland or the Arab uprisings in the Middle East.” However,
the advent of smartphones and tablets with travel management apps and live updates from
airlines and airports has helped, making it easier to find out about
disruptions in advance and anticipate related stress accordingly.
There are other considerations in
minimising the pressure of travel. “Travellers may prefer to select a hotel
with gym facilities so they can maintain their workout routine, or choose one
that is close to business locations to ensure less time is lost in transport
once they have arrived at destination,” said Lebunetel. In July 2011, Hotel 41 and Rubens at the Palace hotels in London,
both part of the Red Carnation
Group, introduced a “sports buddy” programme, whereby staff at the
properties with notable sporting skills, such as tennis or jogging, are teamed
up with guests keen to keep fit during their stay.
In August 2012, ITC Hotels a high-end hotel chain in India,
with hotels in Mumbai, Agra and New Delhi, introduced a sleep menu at 10 of its
luxury collection properties in its rooms, including calming aromatherapy
treatments, a pillow menu and foot massages aimed at business travellers trying
to overcome jet lag and stressful travel. This comes after the Oberoi hotels in the Indian cities of Gurgaon
and Mumbai, popular with business travellers, opened up 24 hour spas in 2011 offering
long-haul flight recovery and reviving treatments.
And there are more stress busting resources
out there, such as a nutrition app for iPads, iPhones, iPods
phones aimed at business travellers which was launched in June 2012 by the nutrition
consulting group Eat Well Global, providing
insights on eating well in restaurants, airports and hotels. The app, written
by registered dieticians, gives tips on restaurant recommendations, ways to communicate
dietary restrictions in different languages and what foodstuffs to avoid when
Finally, business travellers can help
reduce the tension caused by corporate trips themselves. Three years ago British Airways teamed up with the UK-based Stress Management Society to come up with useful
tips on how to combat any trauma experienced on long haul flights. Top of the
list included regular exercise on the plane and breathing exercises. British
Airways features wellbeing exercises
in-flight and has since evolved the results into a whole wellbeing section
on their website, with medical information, sleep tips and jetlag advice.