Being a business traveler sucks a lot of the time, doesn’t it? Not always, obviously. But I can’t remember reading many business traveler tweets or status updates celebrating a 6 a.m. airport check-in or proclaiming a smooth, friendly and hassle-free experience at security.
We all know this is a highly emotive subject for frequent travelers – they always have strong opinions. One of our travel manager customers once summed it up perfectly by joking: “The problem I have is that there are 2,000 travel managers in this building who all think they can do a better job than me!”
Aside from the sarcasm, there is a serious underlying point. We have the opportunity, as a corporate travel community, to recognize a business traveler’s reality. What is their experience from start to finish? What challenges to do they face from the beginning of the booking process to returning home?
There is no simple answer. We must all step up and take responsibility for making their lives simpler and stress-free. Convenience must be at the core of everything we plan and deliver.
And that goes for each and every traveler. Gone are the days when we can treat our travelers as one homogenous entity.
Put simply, we must position the traveler – our employees and colleagues – as if they were customers. Their needs should be our focus.
And if we’re honest about the future, we know the “personal approach” will significantly impact corporate travel programs. Travelers are embracing new technologies, smartphones, tablets and the social media platforms therein, and are more knowledgeable and better connected than ever. This trend will undoubtedly continue apace over the coming years.
I believe our community has a real opportunity to lead the way in making business travel a more personal and enjoyable experience. Happier employees generally equates to better productivity. We have to be connected with and fanatical about the customer experience we are providing. In my view it’s the smart approach, and it’s the future.