Top 10 Issues Faced by Business Travelers & Their Solutions
September 8th, 2020
Business travel has become a norm in many companies these days. With business going global and companies operating from multiple locations, executives need to travel quite often. Sometimes, executives and top management people may have to travel to visit clients or vendors. Business travelers face a lot of difficulties during their travel.
Nearly 50% of business travelers say that the quality of travel determines the business results. In other words, if the executives have a safe and comfortable journey, they are more likely to get better results from the trip. Let’s take a look at the top issues faced by business travelers and how we can find solutions for them.
Problem 1: Safety Concerns
More than 80% of business travelers with a majority of this percentage being women cite not feeling safe as one of the biggest problems while traveling. A major problem is the fear of being mugged while in an unfamiliar place.
Airline safety is also an issue that many travelers are concerned about. One repeating refrain related to safety issues is that the executives don’t know who to contact in case of an emergency. There are also other unexpected safety problems like natural disasters, political unrest, racial tensions, accidents, and such.
It can be difficult to find a complete solution to safety issues. However, companies can reduce safety issues by ensuring that the hotel is in a safe location. They can also arrange for reliable transportation for the duration of the stay.
It will also be a good idea to have a local person to contact in case of emergencies. The person can be a travel agent or preferably, a representative of the company that the executive is visiting.
Problem 2: Stress
The second major problem for business travelers is stress. A study by the World Bank found that 75% of executives reported high-stress levels because of business travels. The staff needs to simultaneously deal with deadlines, work issues, conflicts, travel, and client management.
At the same time, constant travel could wreak personal life, leading to other issues. All these problems can pile up, leading to a lot of stress and strain.
Many of the issues that cause stress can be removed with proper planning and organization. While preparing the travel schedule, it will be a good idea to leave the first and the last day free to relax and unwind. If the company’s travel policy allows, executives may be allowed to travel with family.
Problem 3: Adjusting to time zones
When executives travel abroad, the time zones are different. So, all day long, they will be working with the client and then they need to stay up all night to work with the team back home. Also, it takes time for them to adjust to the different time zone. It can cause stress or even make the person ill.
While working on different time zones, executives can delegate tasks to others in the team to reduce the stress. Also, as suggested earlier, the schedule can be prepared with a day free for the travelers to get used to the new time zone and get over the jet lag.
Problem 4: Delayed Flights/Cancelled Flights
One of the biggest problems that business travelers face is flights being delayed or cancelled. Sometimes, flights are overbooked, which can lead to further complications. If a flight is delayed, then the entire schedule may go askew.
The problem is worsened if the flight is cancelled. Then the executive needs to check if there are any other flights and make the arrangements. It gets even worse if the delay is overnight and they need to look for a safe and comfortable place to stay.
A smart way to overcome the problem is to book flights at least a day or two before the actual meeting. So, even if there are any delays or cancelations, you will still have ample time to make it to the meeting.
If the company works with a travel agency, then managing the problem gets a little easy. The agent will take care of rescheduling and rebooking the flight while the executive can relax and prepare for the meeting.
Problem 5: Expense Tracking
Expense tracking is a huge problem for business travelers. In most cases, the company or travel agency takes care of the flight and hotel booking. Sometimes, even transportation. However, the executive may have other travel expenses.
They need to keep all the bills and receipts and submit them when they return. There are also times when the executive needs to spend from his/her pocket and claim reimbursement from the company. The reimbursement process can be long and tedious, making it more difficult for the employees.
In most cases, when the company takes care of travel, stay, and commute expenses, the financial burden on the employee is reduced. It will help if the organization uses a portal to monitor and streamline all the travel expenses. The executives can upload the details and check the approval status on the portal itself.
Problem 6: Health problems
If the person has health issues, then traveling may aggravate the condition. Also, the different climate, weather conditions, food habits and more can make one fall sick. Continuous travel and not having proper sleep can also make a person fall sick. Business executives who travel often face health issues because of such problems.
It can be difficult to deal with a sudden bout of sickness while staying in a new place or a new country. The company needs to ensure that the employees have a clean bill of health before they travel, especially abroad.
It will also be helpful if the staff have medical insurance that can reduce the financial burden of dealing with the treatment expenses. However, the best solution is that the employee follows good health practices to stay fit and healthy.
Problem 7: Unhealthy food
Traveling to new places and trying out new cuisines can be exciting at the start. But then unhealthy eating habits can take a toll on health. Also, airport food is very expensive and the food delivered on the airplanes is not very delicious. So, in many cases, the executive may not have a proper meal until he/she reaches the destination.
While traveling, it can be difficult to stick to a specific diet. Research the restaurants near you to find ones that serve healthy food at affordable prices. You can even ask the locals for suggestions. Another suggestion is to stick to simple foods and not try exotic foods unless you are sure you have the palate for it.
Problem 8: Uncomfortable or unsafe stay
This problem is associated with the safety and well-being of travelers. Sometimes, companies book in budget hotels to save on hotel expenses. But then if the hotel is located in an unsafe area or if the conditions in the hotel are unhygienic, it can become very difficult for the traveler.
The best solution is to book a hotel that is in a safe location, close to the client’s office. If the hotel is not good, then the employee should provide the feedback to the admin or travel agency so that they don’t book in that hotel again.
Problem 9: Lack of support
A common gripe of regular business travelers is not being able to get proper technical support when they’re traveling. It can be very frustrating when they want to access a portal or download some files and find that they are not able to do it.
Sometimes, the laptop may have a technical failure or the server may be down. At such times, the executives will have a lot of difficulties.
The executive should have the laptop checked by the company’s tech team before they carry it on the trip. Also, they should have all the necessary files they need for the meeting on their system. A tech person should also be available online to help out with any technical issues that may arise during the business trip.
Problem 10: Data Security
Executives need to carry the laptop and phone when they go on a business trip. But these devices will have confidential business information and other data. So, if the devices are hacked or lost, then the critical information could go into the wrong hands. Also, the executive may need to use public or client networks, which may put their data at risk.
Employees need to be made aware of possible cyber threats and attacks. The laptops they use should have state-of-the-art security systems to prevent data breaches. Also, executives should follow safe practices to ensure data safety.
Business travel is inevitable as it plays an essential role in the growth and development of the business and the organization. The 10 problems that we discussed here can be solved with proper planning and scheduling. Companies should also look for ways to make business trips less stressful by providing a positive work environment and a safe travel experience. Have you faced any other problems during business travel? Share them with us.