The conversation about the importance of traveller wellbeing has certainly gathered momentum as a result of the pandemic. We looked back at the results from a client survey which was carried out just before the pandemic struck and at that time, 95% of our clients’ travel managers stated that their travel policies did not feature a traveller wellbeing section.

Traveller wellbeing had a different focus pre-pandemic, with companies encouraging their employees to get enough sleep, eat well and exercise whilst away on business. Now we can add a whole new dimension to this subject, using words we had never heard of a year ago such as ‘social distancing’ and ‘COVID Safety procedures’ and the impact these may have on traveller wellbeing. Travelling is more likely to trigger stress as a result of the enhanced safety and security aspects of even the most simple trip.

There is no doubt that business travel will still play a vital role in successful business interactions in the future however, the approach will be different. Noel Quinn, Chief Executive of HSBC, recently told the Financial Times that he expects to reduce his own travel by half post-COVID by taking fewer but longer trips. And this makes perfect sense! Fewer but longer trips are likely to reduce stress, allow for more time at home and provide a higher ROI, with the added benefit of reducing the travel carbon footprint.
So, what can your business do to ensure your business travellers’ wellbeing?

Review your travel policy

Reviewing your travel policy prior to resuming business travel is essential for many reasons but it also provides the perfect opportunity to include guidance about personal wellbeing whilst travelling on business. It can include support with regards to managing stress whilst travelling, safety information and life style advise around frequency of travel, sleep, eating well and exercise. Inntel have developed a policy template which incorporates traveller wellbeing and we are happy to support with this. We expect that in future client surveys, 95% of respondents will confirm that they have added a wellbeing section to their travel policy!

Top tips to support traveller wellbeing

1) Ensure that traveller safety and security measures are set out clearly in your travel policy to boost traveller confidence

2) Travel in comfort and take travel time and zones into account to ensure travellers arrive fit, fresh and ready to work

3) Travel smart – consider whether 4 trips per year can be combined in 2 longer trips with the same outcome

4) Adopt a hybrid relationship with clients with a balance between meeting virtually and in person

5) Design a preferred hotel programme that includes hotels with a strong wellness focus such as Hilton Tempo or IHG’s Even Hotels. Include hotels that offer the best facilities such as gyms and healthy food options to encourage travellers to adopt healthy living whilst away.

6) Consider apartments services for any stays longer than a few nights.

7) Consider a wellness scoring system that employees can use throughout the business eg: ‘this hotel is 5 minutes’ walk from the office and offers complimentary gym facilities’.

At the end of the day, the reason that your business travellers are away from home is to achieve success for your organisation. The very best way to ensure this happens is to make sure their wellbeing is top of the agenda, resulting in productive and successful trips.