About 48 percent of all business executives who make more than 13 trips a year say that their primary concern when traveling is staying safe. Business travelers should take precautions to stay healthy while traveling along with using caution to protect themselves from dangerous situations. It is essential that travelers know what to do in various scenarios. Businesses should create a written plan covering the most common scenarios along with what they expect their employees to do in each case when traveling overseas.
Staying Healthy When Traveling Overseas
Travelers can take several precautions to help them stay healthy when traveling overseas. All employees should be washing their hands on a regular basis. Encourage your employees to drink bottled water. When setting up travel itineraries, read reviews of restaurants as choosing top-rated restaurants often helps one avoid food contamination. Within reason, allow employees to use part of their travel budgets to stay active or house employees in hotels with good fitness facilities. A company’s travel budget should pay for recommended vaccinations wherever they choose to send your employees. Employees should have access to the latest travel health warnings from a reputable organization before leaving.
Employees should have a list of the best hospitals and emergency clinics in the area in a folder when they travel. The name of these facilities should be written down in the local language helping employees share the information with taxi drivers and chauffeurs if needed. Furthermore, it is a great idea to write down any health conditions in the local language. Teach employees that they can contact the local embassy for more help. Many companies pay for travelers’ insurance on their key employees or offer it at a greatly reduced rate.
Staying Safe Physically When Traveling for Business
Staying safe on the road begins with booking the right hotel. After checking a hotel’s reputation, then book a room between the third and sixth floors for your employee. Rooms located on the first floor are more prone to being broken into while those above the sixth floor are harder for emergency responders to reach. Teach employees that if their room number is announced when they check-in that they should immediately ask for another room. In addition, encourage travelers to carry their own hotel safety devices with them.
Someone at the company’s headquarters should have immediate access to any employee’s travel itinerary. Employees should be taught who they can contact 24 hours a day seven days a week to receive help if they feel like they are in trouble. A file should be created with copies of the traveler’s passport and tickets. The employee should give this to someone at the office before embarking on their travels; they should also give it to a trusted family member or friend along with emailing a copy of it to themselves.
After they leave, employees should be encouraged to carry all their important travel documents, credit cards and cash in different locations. The safest spot to carry these important items is in front pockets as it is much harder to pick a front pocket than a back. Employees may be tempted to turn their back for just a second if the documents and money are in a pocketbook.
Staying safe while traveling on corporate business begins with staying healthy. Take precautions before leaving by getting the right vaccinations and reading about the area. Drinking bottled water and hand washing can help prevent many illnesses. Encourage employees to make copies of their travel documents and to carry all important papers and money in separate locations. Ask employees to choose hotels based on their safety ratings.
Many company’s chief financial officers will tell you that their employees do a very poor job of staying in compliance with their corporation’s travel policies. Others will tell you that they are constantly being asked to pay for expenses exceeding proposed budgets. This constant fight can be handled by making sure that travel policies are clear and up-to-date along with appropriating funds correctly. Many company’s chief financial officers will tell you that their employees do a very poor job of staying in compliance with their corporation’s travel policies. Others will tell you that they are constantly being asked to pay for expenses exceeding proposed budgets. This constant fight can be handled by making sure that travel policies are clear and up-to-date along with appropriating funds correctly.
Corporate Travel Policies
Regardless of a company’s size, they should have written corporate travel policies that are in line with the company’s culture. These policies should clearly spell out where employees are expected to book their travel or if they can choose to book wherever they find the best rates. Policies should also enunciate when corporate travel cards will be used and when employees can use their own credit cards while receiving compensation at a later date. Furthermore, the policy should state what class of flights will be covered and if particular airline alliances are preferred. The policy should state how to determine the type of accommodations the employee must choose along with how to determine an appropriate rate. Policies should also be put into place on car rentals, taxis and other forms of transportation allowing employees to understand when these expenses will be covered. Clear and realistic policies are likely to increase employee compliance.
Cost of Airline Tickets
The corporate travel policy should cover an estimate of a reasonable cost for airline tickets into different cities. Encourage employees to book as far ahead as possible by putting a requirement in place that tickets booked on short-term notice must be approved by upper management. Encourage employees to use exchange rates to the company’s advantage. Additionally, make it fun for employees to hunt down the best fare for their seats by splitting the savings with them.
|Average Ticket Prices US to Major Destinations
|US to Africa
|US to Asia
|US to Australia
|US to India
|US to Europe
|US to South America
Corporate financial officers can help keep travel budgets under control by making sure that all policies are outlined clearly in writing so that employees know what is allowed and what they must avoid. The policy should cover all areas of travel including airlines, taxis, car rentals and trains. The written directions should also cover when a hotel will be paid for along with advice on picking out great ones at reasonable costs. Encouraging employees to save money by splitting the rewards with them when they find a great deal may also help keep costs in check.
Over 94 percent of all business travel in the United States happens on the ground within four hours of where the business executive is based. The other 6 percent are usually made by air and last for less than four days. Businesses expect to pay an average of $1,887 on business trips. Almost 50 percent of all business travelers say that they feel intense pressure from their employers to control expenses while traveling. These excursions are usually made because top management finds that there is no substitute for being there in person. The average business traveler is 38 years old, has a college degree and is male. Beyond that, business travelers tend to divide into two distinct groups who each have their own expectations.
Business travelers who are road warriors tend to take more than 13 trips annually, and they tend to spend at least four days away from their main office on each business trip. Staying connected to their families is a high priority because of the amount of time that they spend flying. Therefore, they are very likely to bring along the latest gadgets and they embrace new technology with open arms. They are also likely to bring along multiple ways to connect because they do not want connectivity issues to ruin their trips. While they are capable of writing expense reports that outshine other travelers in their offices, most prefer to use technology to make filing these reports faster and easier. Many road warriors have been to the same destination multiple times, so they are harder to impress although they will not hesitate to spend money on a new adventure when the opportunity presents itself.
Business Travelers Gaining Experience
In order to become a road warrior, businesses must recruit younger members who are willing to spend time traveling. These travelers are very likely to take more than 14 business trips a year. They are also more likely to tack personal days on either end of a business trip, and they may even bring someone else along with them. Therefore, the best companies have created well-written policies on how many personal days can be taken on a business trip and who can go. The inexperienced business traveler is more likely to spend money entertaining clients in unique ways. This has given rise to travel industries offering unique experiences for the business traveler. The inexperienced business traveler is also more likely to use social media to connect with local friends in each destination, and they are more likely to share their experiences on Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms.
In order to make the most of the travel budget, corporations must have well-written travel policies. Establishing these policies ahead of time sets clear expectations on what employees can and cannot do while traveling on corporate expense budgets. Corporations need to make it easier for travelers to use the latest technology to stay connected to their families and friends while on the road. Allowing employees to file expense reports quickly adds to the enjoyment level of trips while lowering stress and burnout rates. Businesses need clear policies on who is allowed to go on trips along with policies on what expenses are deductible.
It is estimated that businesses will spend more than $1.5 trillion on business travel by 2020. China is quickly becoming the hottest market for business travelers growing by about 11.4 percent annually. By comparison, business travel in the United States is growing only by about 1.5 percent annually. More executives from India and Indonesia will be traveling, and more directors of companies will be traveling to those countries as well. No one is sure the long-term impact that Brexit will have on business travel within that region. Regardless of the region, they are traveling to or from, business travelers are demanding more personalized service along with the ability to get more done while in the air. They also want top-notch services from their airlines while they are at the airport. Competition on many routes will continue to be stiff with airlines fighting to get the most business travelers.
The Best Airlines for International Business Travel
Qatar Airways has upped their game for business travelers with the introduction of Qsuites. These moveable dividers in business-class allow travelers to enjoy working in their own private suite which comes complete with a door. Up to four seats can be enclosed in one suite making it easy to have a meeting in the air. Travelers can adjust the mood lighting along with using luxury beauty products from Italy’s Castello Monte Vibiano Vecchio. Travelers can also choose from a wide selection of the world’s best wines and choose from top-notch food selections based on the destination along with the ability to choose from over 1,000 movies, songs and games by just touching a button.
Other airlines with suites that business travelers may want to consider include Singapore Airlines allowing guests to pre-order from their favorite airline chefs, Etihad Airways suites that come equipped with their own showers, Air France suites that come with their own 6.5 foot long bed and Qantas featuring vintage champagnes.
The Best Airlines for Domestic Business Travel in the United States
Even if you are staying in the United States, the choosing the right airline can help business travelers feel great when they reach their destinations. Business travelers will want to check out the Polaris Experience on United’s 77W wide-bodied airplanes and soon to be introduced to their other airplanes. Their patented Zodiac Seats each offer aisle access, and flyers can pull up a petition allowing them to be totally secluded from flyers sitting next to them. Each seat comes with a white marble-like side table and a pull-up bar. Above each seat, flyers find an air vent allowing them to control the temperature in their portion of the airplane. A mattress and a cooling-gel pillow make it easy to sleep while in the air or use the in-flight entertainment to keep yourself occupied. Before leaving and after arrival, many flyers take advantage of the Polaris Lounges that include showers and laundry service.
If you simply must get to your meeting on time, then consider Hawaiian Airlines, Alaska Airlines and Delta. These airlines each had more than 85 percent of their flights land within 15 minutes of their announced arrival time, and they had very few canceled flights.
As more top executives take to the air to reach important business meetings, airlines are increasing the enjoyment during flights to get there. Travelers flying overseas should consider Qatar Airlines because of their Qsuites while other airlines like Singapore Airlines, Etihad Airways and Air France are incorporating their own suites into airplanes. In the United States, United Airlines has introduced the new Polaris experience to many of their planes. If you simply must get there on time, then consider Hawaiian Airlines, Alaska Airlines and Delta.