Business travelers are taking to the skies just as much as in previous years, but they are increasingly taking time out for themselves, according to new research released by American Express Global Business Travel (AEGBT).
The survey, which analyzed the habits of business travelers in the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia, found that U.S. business travelers are traveling just as often, and some more frequently, than they did in 2012, but are increasingly taking time out for themselves while on the road.
Mixing Business with Pleasure: The survey found that U.S. business travelers are taking an average of seven business trips by air each year. The survey also found that those who travel outside of the U.S. for business reported taking an average of six international trips annually. According to the survey, 35 percent of U.S. business travelers are making more day trips compared to overnight stays; however, two-thirds of U.S. business travelers surveyed say they have extended a business trip in order to take a personal vacation in the past year, AEGBT says.
Of those surveyed, 35 percent of U.S. business travelers reported that their companies are willing to cover the cost of Wi-Fi while flying. For U.S. business travelers surveyed whose companies do not cover this expense, 38 percent noted that they would be willing to pay for Wi-Fi access out-of-pocket. However, in spite of overall better connectivity and Wi-Fi access while in the air, it seems that travelers actually prefer to have a break from work – with 61 percent of U.S. business traveler respondents saying they look forward to disconnecting while in flight, as it gives them the chance to take a break and unwind.
In fact, only 23 percent of U.S. business travelers surveyed work while on long-haul flights and 56 percent say they take the time to turn on a movie or dive into a good book. Socializing or networking seems to be the last thing on their minds, with only 1 percent of U.S. business travelers surveyed using their time to interact with other passengers.
“As Millennials begin to make up a larger portion of the global workforce, we’re seeing more corporate employee travel behaviors that focus on alleviating travel-related stress,” said Kevin Carey, vice president & general manager, global client group, American Express Global Business Travel. “These travelers place a higher value on work/life balance and are savvy about how to travel efficiently. They make the most of their time on the road and maintain their mental and physical health while away from the office.”
The Healthy, Relaxed Traveler: In an added effort to relieve stress and stay healthy, the majority of U.S. business travelers surveyed say they turn to a combination of diet and exercise in order to maintain good health while traveling. According to the survey, more than seven out of ten (74%) frequent U.S. business travelers say they drink extra water, 48 percent stretch on the plane, and almost half use the gym at the hotel (44%). In terms of diet and nutrition, 20 percent of the U.S. business travelers surveyed avoid alcohol and 41 percent supplement their diet with vitamins.
The Ups and Downs of Business Travel: According to 21 percent of U.S. business travelers surveyed, being seated behind a child or infant is the worst place on the plane to sit followed by the restroom (14%), next to someone who takes over the armrest (11%), beside a talkative seatmate (10%), and next to someone who snores (6%).
Further, to make their trips more comfortable and efficient, the most common travel-related services U.S. business travelers surveyed like to take advantage of overall are Wi-Fi in the hotel, followed by a hotel breakfast and pre-boarding options. If their company is picking up the tab, airfare upgrades, Wi-Fi in the hotel and extra legroom on flights round out the top three services that are most desired by those U.S. business traveler respondents.
The survey also asked business travelers to share their number one tip for surviving business travel. Tied for first are ‘travel light /carry-on only’ and ‘be patient and relax.’ This might be useful to keep in mind, as the most common items U.S. business travelers surveyed forget to pack are umbrellas, phone chargers, toiletries and business cards, Amex reports.