CWT taking high-tech approach to combating business travel stress

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

CWT taking high-tech approach to combating business travel stress

Staying in serviced apartments and corporate housing is an excellent way for executives to remain productive while on the road. Combining the comforts of home with the convenience and high standard of service they would expect from corporate suites at chain hotels, this type of accommodation is ideally suited to today's frequent business traveler. Although choosing alternatives to typical hotels can help executives reduce stress, it cannot eliminate it completely. For this reason, Carlson Wagonlit Travel (CWT) plans to help travel management professionals identify and reduce stress for their executives.

Solutions through data
CWT has been working on its Travel Stress Index for the past 18 months. By culling data from a wide range of sources, CWT's new tool aims to make it easier for executives and travel management professionals to assess the potential levels of stress travelers are likely to experience on their next trip. Statistics are drawn from more than 15 million transactions to provide executives with a comprehensive overview of the factors associated with high levels of stress, and how travel management professionals can make better decisions to reduce the negative impact that business travel can have on an organization, such as absenteeism, illness and stress-related injuries.

In addition to cross-referencing stress factors for business travelers, users of the Travel Stress Index will be able to categorize their results according to the age, gender, nationality and annual salary of individual travelers, providing management professionals with a customizable way to identify stressors for various team members. Based on the results of the initial assessment, the Travel Stress Index tool can make precise recommendations.

"By identifying which stressors are causing the most pain for a particular segment of travelers, we can recommend specific solutions to enhance the traveler experience and improve productivity," said Vincent Lebunetel, senior director of CWT Solutions Group, as quoted by Buying Business Travel. "It could be advising on connectivity solutions for each stage of a trip or recommending a specific carrier based on on-time or lost luggage performances."

Common problems
While many executives find business travel to be a positive experience, there are several factors that frequent travelers cite as particularly stressful. Last year, CWT conducted an in-depth study to identify the most stressful aspects of corporate travel as part of its research and development of the Travel Stress Index.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, lost or wasted time ranked highly as a source of stress for business travelers. Time spent in conditions where work is either negatively affected or rendered impossible by external circumstances, such as flying in economy class on long-haul flights, was of particular concern to many executives. The occurrence of unforeseen events, such as lost or delayed luggage, was also identified as a high-stress event for business travelers. Similarly, the inability for travelers to maintain their personal routines while on business trips, such as exercise or dietary regimes, was also seen as a stressful experience.

The results of CWT's study revealed that above all, each stressful situation frequently encountered by executives shared one commonality - lost time. Although CWT's Travel Stress Index could prove invaluable to travel management professionals seeking to streamline their executives' experience and maximize their productivity, simple changes can have a substantial impact. Avoiding chain hotels and staying in corporate apartments is an excellent way for business travelers to reduce the stress often associated with finding suitable accommodations while traveling.

By choosing a cost-effective and competitive alternative to typical hotels, executives can remain focused on the tasks at hand and ensure they have the energy and focus they need to close the big deal, rather than worrying about the effects of stress.