Lost luggage and poor internet connections are the two biggest headaches identified by business travellers, according to a new study.
Carlson Wagonlit Travel’s (CWT) Travel Stress Index found 33 “stress triggers” occurring at different stages of a journey, from booking through to transportation, hotel stay and even the final expense report. These annoyances were grouped into three categories – lost time, surprises and routine breakers – which combine to make travellers’ lives a misery.
The study found that business travellers were most stressed by losing time during their journey, with the highest triggers of stress being lost or delayed luggage, poor internet connectivity, flying economy on a long-haul flight and flight delays. According to CWT, economy class flights came under the ‘lost time’ category as it “reduces the possibility to work for a suitable length of time or to rest properly”.
Other stress factors identified included inconvenient flight times, low hotel categories, inconvenient hotel locations and being sent on last-minute business trips.
“It is estimated that 30% of the world’s employees suffer from work-related stress. The loss of quality, absenteeism and turnover resulting from stress may represent between 1% and 3.5% of the global domestic product in industrialized countries. However, this trend is not yet taken into account when corporations, travel management companies and consultants are addressing business travel,” the CWT report stated.
“The big picture of direct travel savings versus employee productivity will need to become a company-wide initiative. The notion of ‘duty of care’ is moving beyond the borders of managing safety and security and tracking traveller whereabouts, and departments such as human resources and corporate social responsibility will also need to be involved.
“Traveling smarter rather than less will be the way to find the optimal balance between the superficial costs of travel and the hidden ones,” it added.
CWT also found that travel stress increases with age and travel frequency, while women reported higher stress levels than men and senior executives were more prone to stress that lower level managers.
“We will be using the results of the survey to assess the impact of travel-related stress on an organisation’s productivity levels. By quantifying that stress and its cost, we aim to help companies make smarter travel policy decisions,” CWT stated.