In a vastly changing and growing economy, business travellers are not just the suits armed with briefcases. Bloggers, conferences, networking events and good old-fashioned face-to-face business meetings are now driving the world of business travel. I have been in the hotel and hospitality industry for 20 years and have witnessed first-hand how much of an impact social media and faster, more efficient technology has had on the way business travellers operate.
Workers no longer travel then work; they travel and work. We are now in age of what has been coined as ‘hypermobility’. Travel is cheaper, faster, and more convenient. Hotel rooms and cars can be booked using apps. Uber has fundamentally changed the way a vast portion of those in major cities travel. Meetings can be organised using social media platforms; colleagues can converse on WhatsApp, Facebook, LinkedIn, or via Skype whilst on the move.
Creating an environment which helps to facilitate this way of working, but which can also serve to counter-act the added stress and health related afflictions of this non-stop life style is essential and a careful balancing act for the modern business traveller hotel.
For example, access to effective working conditions when away from the office, such as a peaceful working environment and guaranteed Wi-Fi connection, are vital. Recent findings from the Global Business Travel Association show that access to Wi-Fi ranked as the most popular response among UK respondents as to one thing all companies should offer those travelling for work.
Similarly, access to facilities that can be used to improve a traveller’s personal health are also ranked as very important. Travel fatigue is a real problem, particularly given how little time it takes to move a very long distance using modern flight/train/travel methods. Business travel management specialists Carlson Wagonlit Travel surveyed 6,000 travellers and found they could lose nearly seven hours sleep on a trip due to stress, meaning that they used that time for neither work nor rest.
The modern business traveller wants access to good exercise facilities like a gym and pool, healthy food options and a comfortable bed to mediate the stresses of travel.
It’s important then that we, the supplier to the business traveller, do what we can to make sure this happens. The way people and companies approach businesses travel has moved with the times, and so must those who seek to cater for them if they hope to remain competitive in the market.
Gill Jackson, sales director at Macdonald Hotels Ltd. Macdonald Hotels is exhibiting at the Business Travel Show, which takes place next week - 24-25 February 2016 - at Olympia Grand in London. You can still register for a free pass online - www.businesstravelshow.com.