If you know any road warriors, you know they are a unique segment of the workforce. Fresh research aimed at these hardy travelers reveals surprising insights. MMGY Global surveyed 757 frequent business travelers about how travel affects them, and what they really want from their employers.
Road Warriors Are Big Retention Risks
85% would be interested in a job from a different firm that requires similar travel levels if it offers a very attractive travel policy
83% say the new firm’s travel policy would be at least as important as the new job’s pay or responsibilities
51% want to travel significantly less in two years
If you’re a senior executive who manages a bunch of road warriors, you have to wonder just how happy your traveling campers are.
High Costs of Traveler Burnout
I’ve written a lot about traveler friction – the wear and tear of too much travel. The MMGY study shows that 15% of road warriors are nearly burned out – meaning they want to stop traveling for at least a month. OK, 15% may not sound too bad, but there’s more to this story.
Those in the nearly-burned out camp report having less effective trips, higher loss of productivity, and more worry about the impact of their travel on their family, their health and their careers.
Any idea how much it costs to keep one road warrior on the road for a year? Easily north of $50K, depending of course on how much and well they travel. Some road warriors spend more than $100K a year just on airfares, so you can see it’s far from cheap to send these folks to travel.
Surprisingly, the quantity of travel isn’t what burns these folks out. It’s much more about the quality of travel, and the amount of time between trips.
What Road Warriors Really Want
The survey offered a list of 24 things that could make a traveler’s life better. Here’s what road warriors want most, in order of preference:
1. Non-stop flights wherever available
2. Choice of better hotels
3. Flying business class on flights over 6 hours
4. Paid time off after long bouts of travel
5. Premium economy seats on domestic flights
6. The ability to work from home before or after a trip
My take after reading the report: Road warriors want to be more productive. Yes, that means more comfortable trips, and so yes, their travel costs will go up.
But what’s really at stake is the business impact of those trips, and the retention of those travelers.
This study helps management build a more fact-based framework for evaluating travel policies.
You can register for a free copy of the report here.
My day job is all about making sense of corporate travel data. My firm co-sponsored the MMGY study, along with American Express GBT and ARC, to shed light on the HR and travel policy implications of managing road warriors.