How Does Company Size Affect Corporate Travel Preferences?
tl;dr: Where you choose to work is not an accident, and a new study from Lola.com reveals how those preferences translate to corporate travel expectations. Read on for the findings and what companies can do to tailor their travel programs to meet their needs.
What matters to you when you travel for business?
Is a conveniently located hotel more important to you than a direct flight? Or vice versa?
Would you rather rent a car at the airport or rely on ride-sharing?
However you answer these questions, one thing is certain: someone else is likely to have the exact opposite responses.
And we're not guessing. We know this is true because Lola.com recently completed a survey of 630 frequent business travelers and we learned just that: the preferences of corporate travelers are all over the map (no pun intended).
But when we dug into the responses, we realized that the real answer to this is a little more nuanced. There are certain patterns to the corporate travel preferences.
In fact, when we sorted the responses by company size, we learned that where you decide to work is a great predictor of how you prefer to travel for work.
Company size plays a huge role in determining what employees value from their careers, and these preferences are closely tied to their travel decisions.
But before we dig into the travel-specific preferences, let’s start by analyzing why certain people choose to work at small companies, huge companies, and everything in between.
Our research has come back to show that employees at different sized companies simply value different things:
Overall company size is a huge determinate for what employees value… so much so that over half of employees in small-to-mid-sized companies say that they would not fit in well at a large company:
So how does this relate back to travel?
Well well it comes to travel, employees at small-to-mid-sized companies value 2 things much more than large companies:
In fact, 83% of those working in small-to-mid-sized companies say their company should be willing to pay more for travel options that increase productivity.
How can you help your employees be more productive while traveling? We have 3 simple steps that can keep your employee productive and agile when on the road:
Direct Flights - 96% of those surveyed say direct flights allow them to be more productive.
Convenient Hotels - 91% say hotels in close proximity to their work allow them to be more productive and avoid wasting time getting to and from.
Ride-Sharing - 69% say opting for ride share vs. rental cars allows them to be more productive and avoid the pricey cost of rental cars and hassle of parking.
And as far as flexibility goes, employees working at small-to-mid-sized companies need to know that the company's travel policy can be flexible enough to meet their changing needs. This is shown by the 98% of employees at these small-to-mid-sized companies who stated that flexibility is critical for them when traveling.
So how does flexibility impact how employees travel?
Here are 3 tips you can use to to improve the flexibility of your travel policy and improve employee happiness:
Be Transparent - While it might be nice having an office manager book the whole teams travel, 89% of corporate travelers want visibility into travel options vs. someone else completely managing it for them.
Ditch The Dress Code - Airplane seating isn’t exactly something you would find in a Comfortable Furniture Catalog. Why make it worse by requiring professional attire while traveling? 87% of employees surveyed want the flexibility to choose what they wear when traveling for business.
Give Flight Freedom - Finally, give your employees the flexibility to book on the airlines they are comfortable with. 79% of corporate travelers want the option to choose their preferred airline when traveling for business.
What about the big guys?
On the other side, though, what do employees at large companies value, and how might you incorporate those preferences into your travel policy?
Employees at these larger companies are more likely to value things such as stability and lower risk. In fact, 82% of employees at these large companies say they actually chose the organization for stability along with 78% who said they joined for lower risk.
To build a policy around these values and ensure your employees enjoy how they travel, consider adding things such as:
Rental Cars - Rather than avoiding the lines and wait that come with ride-sharing and hailing cabs, providing employees with a vehicle of their own can reduce uncertainty on the road
Per Diem - Employees at these large companies are 17% more likely to say “benefits are very important” than those at a small company. One way to provide them with more benefits and ensure stability on the road is to ensure that their Per Diem can cover even some of the higher-end restaurants when traveling.
No matter who you ask, it’s human nature to have different preferences when it comes to things like corporate travel.
But as someone who manages your team’s travel, you can begin to draw clear distinctions about what your employees care about based on the size of your team. Knowing what your team cares about will allow you to provide them with the best experience possible when traveling.
Being able to put your employee first in these on-the-go scenarios allows them to get the most out of their trip and view travel as a privilege rather than a burden.
Want access to the full report?
Check out the full 2019 State of Corporate Travel.