Work-life balance is an important goal for almost nine of 10 surveyed business travelers according to a new survey from Cambria Suites fielded by the GBTA Foundation, the research and education arm of the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA).
Seventy-one percent of respondents say the key to achieving work-life balance is focusing on “work-life productivity” while traveling, which means living their entire life more productively and putting equal focus on work and personal needs, the survey reports.
Business travelers identify the right hotel and technology as top drivers of their productivity, according to the “Total Work-Life Productivity of Business Travelers” survey. Technology plays such an important role for the efficiency of modern day road warriors that 62 percent rate free Wi-Fi almost as important as a comfortable bed (65 percent) when it comes to very important hotel services and amenities.
The expectations of employers are also increasing. The survey shows that road warriors feel employers are demanding greater outcomes and higher efficiencies from each and every business trip. In line with a still-recovering economy, the survey suggests that companies are specifically looking for greater cost efficiencies.
Almost a quarter (23 percent) of business travelers say that they are staying less frequently at hotels that are full-service or luxury class, and more than one out of five (21 percent) say they are facing greater scrutiny over outcomes from their business trips, the survey says.
The survey of 407 business travelers was commissioned by Cambria Suites, a contemporary, all-suites brand from Choice Hotels International, Inc., and is one of the first in the industry to explore how business travelers can achieve overall “work-life productivity” in an environment where cost efficiencies are top of mind for business travelers.
Even in times of easily accessible technology and the rise of social media, American business travelers still want to have face-to-face meetings, with nearly eight of 10 (79 percent) claiming that in-person meetings are necessary for doing business successfully. More than three quarters of business travelers (76 percent) report that these trips help their companies grow, the survey notes.
“Business travelers are feeling more pressed today compared with a year ago. They are facing greater demands from all sides as they are seeking to balance their work and personal lives, according to the survey,” says Michael Murphy, senior vice president of Cambria Suites.
“In this environment, productivity away from the office is very important. Our findings also revealed that if business travelers focus not just on their work productivity while traveling, but also on their personal productivity, they can make inroads to achieve a better work-life balance, which is an important goal for nine out of 10 road warriors (87%),” Murphy said.
The Cambria Suites survey found that spending time with loved ones (62 percent) and missing important events and milestones in their personal lives (42 percent) are two of the top five challenges cited by business travelers while on the road. Others include: eating healthy and on a regular schedule (68 percent), getting proper sleep (62 percent), and exercising regularly (60 percent). Caring for pets at home (24 percent) is also a concern for some business travelers.
According to the survey, technology is a top tool for business travelers to balance personal and professional needs; nearly two-thirds (66 percent) of business travelers cite technology as critical in achieving greater overall work-life productivity. While technology has made business travel more efficient and productive for nearly eight of 10 travelers (78 percent), it is equally significant in helping them stay connected with loved ones on business trips (81 percent).
The survey also revealed the importance hotels play in achieving balance and productivity when traveling. More than half of road warriors (56 percent) say that the hotel component has a greater impact on their ability to work productively than other trip components, such as their flight or rental car. Comfortable beds and bedding (65 percent), closely followed by free Wi-Fi (62 percent) are cited as most important when it comes to hotel services and amenities. Friendly, helpful staff (39 percent), free parking (30 percent) and a spacious, well-appointed hotel guestroom (26 percent) complete the top five must-have hotel services for business travelers.
The survey reports it found women value and use technology more than men to stay connected with their personal lives on business trips. Women are more likely (plus 13 percent points) than men to say that social media in particular has enhanced their business travel experience by keeping them in touch with their personal and professional networks (42 percent compared with 29 percent).
Eight of 10 female business travelers state that technology is just as important in their business and personal life to enhance their overall productivity, compared to seven of 10 men. The survey also revealed that achieving work-life balance is more important to female road warriors, with 96 percent of women saying work-life balance is an important goal compared with 82 percent of men.
Survey respondents were full-time employees and had taken at least four business trips with a minimum distance of 50 miles in the last 12 months. More than eight out of 10 respondents (83 percent) said that it was not only important to increase their work productivity, but to live their entire life more productively, the Cambria study said.
Cambria Suites commissioned the GBTA Foundation to field the online survey of frequent business travelers between Aug. 1-11, 2012. Cambria Suites has 19 properties open across the country, representing more than 4,600 guest suites and 26 properties in various stages of development, representing an additional 4,600-plus rooms. Cambria is a Choice Hotels International brand.