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Everyone knows business travel can be stressful, but in what
ways and for whom the most? Carlson Wagonlit Travel is continuing its mission
to find out and has released a summary of a survey of more than 6,000 employees
from nine of its corporate accounts.
CWT asked survey respondents to rate the stress they feel
from 33 factors occurring during various trip stages—from booking through to
transport, lodging and reimbursement. Researchers determined there were three
main categories of stress-inducing events: lost time, surprises and
"The study found that business travelers were most
stressed by losing time during their journey, with the highest triggers of
stress being lost or delayed luggage, poor Internet connection, flying economy
on a long-haul flight and flight delays," according to CWT.
The travel management company also found that travel stress
was higher for women, older employees, more frequent travelers and senior
executives. On the first, while men and women react similarly to lost time and
surprises, the survey found that women tended to stress out more over
routine-breakers—for example, losing out on opportunities to eat healthily or
"Travelers need to focus on being productive,"
said Vincent Lebunetel, head of CWT Solutions Group for Europe, Middle East and
Africa. "Their companies are not paying them to travel."
But their companies are paying travel buyers to save money
on travel, and CWT is arguing that these hidden costs of business travel should
be considered. In a simple example, a large company may save $1 million
annually by moving travelers to economy class, but the impact could be $3
million in lost productivity and sick days.
CWT will provide dedicated reports for participating
clients, potentially leading to changes in policies or procedures. "This
study was the first step for our holistic vision," said Lebunetel.
"We now understand how stress impacts business travelers depending on [their
demographics], and now we're creating an algorithm to be able to assess stress
on a company-by-company basis, showing the savings opportunities."
While CWT repeated the industry's "travel smarter, not
less" cliche, Lebunetel acknowledged that remote conferencing is an option
for corporations looking to reduce travel stress.
CWT first announced plans for its Traveler Stress Index in
April. Other researchers also have studied the health effects of business travel.
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