Travel Still Necessary For Doing Business

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American business travelers still feel the need to have face-to-face meetings in order to grow their businesses, according to a recent survey.

Nearly eight of 10 (79%) claim that in-person meetings are necessary for doing business successfully. More than three-quarters of business travelers (76%) report that these trips help their companies grow, according to the survey, conducted by the Global Business Travel Association Foundation on behalf of the Choice Hotels International’s Cambria Suites hotel chain.

Business travelers are feeling more pressed today compared with a year ago, said Michael Murphy, SVP of Cambria Suites.   

“They are facing greater demands from all sides as they are seeking to balance their work and personal lives, according to the survey," Murphy said. "In this environment, productivity away from the office is very important.” 

The survey also revealed that if business travelers focus not only on their work productivity while traveling, but also on their personal productivity, they can make inroads to achieve a better work-life balance, which is an important goal for nine out of 10 road warriors (87%). 

Business travelers identify the right hotel and technology as top drivers of their productivity, according to the survey. Technology plays such an important role for the efficiency of modern-day road warriors that 62% rate free Wi-Fi almost as important as a comfortable bed (65%) when it comes to very important hotel services and amenities.

The survey shows that road warriors feel employers are demanding greater outcomes and higher efficiencies from each and every business trip. In line with a still-recovering economy, the survey suggests that companies are specifically looking for greater cost efficiencies.

Almost a quarter (23%) of business travelers surveyed say that they are staying less frequently at hotels that are full-service or luxury class, and more than one out of five (21%) say they are facing greater scrutiny over outcomes from their business trips.

According to the survey of 407 business travelers, technology is a top tool for business travelers to balance personal and professional needs; nearly two-thirds (66%) of business travelers cite technology as critical in achieving greater overall work-life productivity. While technology has made business travel more efficient and productive for nearly eight of 10 travelers (78%), it is equally significant in helping them stay connected with loved ones on business trips (81%).

The survey also revealed the importance hotels play in achieving balance and productivity when traveling. More than half of road warriors (56%) say that the hotel component has a greater impact on their ability to work productively than other trip components, such as their flight or rental car. Comfortable beds and bedding (65%), closely followed by free Wi-Fi (62%) are cited as most important when it comes to hotel services and amenities. Friendly, helpful staff (39%), free parking (30%) and a spacious, well-appointed hotel guestroom (26%) complete the top five must-have hotel services for business travelers.

The survey found that women value and use technology more than men to stay connected with their personal lives on business trips. Women are more likely (plus 13 percent points) than men to say that social media in particular has enhanced their business travel experience by keeping them in touch with their personal and professional networks (42% compared with 29%). Eight of 10 female business travelers state that technology is just as important in their business and personal life to enhance their overall productivity, compared to seven of 10 men.

Survey respondents were full-time employees and had taken at least four business trips with a minimum distance of 50 miles in the last 12 months.

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