CWT examines business travel stress factors

Women more stressed

Lost luggage and poor Internet connection are the major stress factors during business trips, according to a survey by the CWT Solutions Group, Carlson Wagonlit Travel’s (CWT) global, independent consultancy firm. For the research 6,000 business travellers from nine globally operative companies were surveyed. The aim of the survey is to shed light on the hidden costs of business travel caused by travel-related stress and to tackle them specifically.

The stress drivers identified can be grouped into three main categories: lost time, unforeseen events such as lost or delayed baggage, and breaks in daily routine due to travel.

In total, the survey respondents scored 33 different factors occurring during various trip stages – from booking through to transport, lodging and reimbursement – by the levels of stress they trigger. Besides lost luggage and poor Internet connection, flying Economy Class on long-haul trips and flight delays are the main stress triggers.

Relative to business travellers from other countries, German business travellers are exceptionally stressed out by factors causing them to lose time, such as indirect versus direct connections or inconveniently located hotels. On the other hand, Germans are less concerned than average by the routine-breaking effect of travel. Longer working hours at the destination, trips lasting more than three days, languages they do not know and having to make do without healthy food or their customary workout routine trouble them less than travellers of other nationalities.

The study also indicates that business travellers react differently to travel-induced stress depending on their age, gender, nationality and position:

Travel stress increases with age and greater travel frequency.

Women are more susceptible to business travel stress than men.

Being faced with a foreign language they do not know stresses North Americans more than business travellers from other countries.

Senior/executive management feel travel stress more keenly than business travellers in other positions.

“We will be using the results of the survey to assess the impact of travel-related stress on an organisation’s productivity levels. By quantifying that stress and its cost, we aim to help companies make smarter travel policy decisions,” says Vincent Lebunetel, head of CWT Solutions Group for Europe, the Middle East andAfrica. “For instance, adaptive policies that reflect travel frequency or traveller demographics could improve traveller well-being as well as providing benefits to an organisation.”