Monday, March 10, 2008

Business Travel: Even Road Warriors Get The Blues

While Web-based meeting technologies may seem to eliminate the need for some business travel, there’s a reason why millions of people still pack their carry-on bags each week for domestic and international business-related travel: savvy business people know that there’s just no substitute for face-to-face meetings.

Still, if getting there is half the battle, it helps explain why a fuming, suit-clad business traveler on a crowded airplane, surrounded by crying children or trapped by an incessant talker, remains a familiar cartoon image. But, what do modern-day road warriors really find most irritating about business travel?

In a survey of more than 1,000 international business travelers conducted by Carson Hotels Worldwide, 75 percent said that last-minute flight cancellations and delays are their most frustrating travel experience. Lack of communication by airline personnel also ranked high. While business travelers who work with travel agencies can call on their agents to deal with flight rescheduling, those who make their own travel arrangements must usually wait in line, or on hold, to deal with the hassle of rescheduling themselves.

Business travelers also revealed that they are more irritated by screaming children (61 percent) and incessant talkers (47 percent) than by the hassles of airport security (32 percent).

While a travel agent can’t guarantee a lone traveler a fascinating seatmate, the survey did reveal who the respondents would most like to sit next to on a flight: Oprah Winfrey (24 percent), Bill Gates (23 percent) or Angelina Jolie (22 percent).

Other “dream” companions include political and religious figures such as Hillary Clinton, George W. Bush, Barack Obama, the Pope and the Dali Lama.


Beth said...

You're right: there are many situations in which we have to be there in the flesh. As a dedicated road warrior, my pet peeve is definitely the last-minute delay. Lately I've been working on a project only one leg away from home, which is wonderful. Traveling a two-leg weekly trip in the winter is a recipe for disaster.

I do believe, though, that there are times when we could make better use of web conferencing to supplement our in-person trips.

If I can have one solid rep on-site I don't mind having the others attending virtually, particularly if it's one of those "fly everybody in for a 45-minute meeting" situations.

We need to give our customers the best service possible while still giving our consultants the opportunity to sit out an occasional trip.

Travel Travel Fargo said...

It is especially difficult to travel frequently now considering that large percentages of flights get delayed each day regardless of weather or location.

Business trips that require travel should be planned out to maximize the benefits of the trip...such as meeting with several contacts in a city. I know that isn't always possible but hey, we can dream.

I do agree with you Beth - with technology booming why send an entire team? I think one representative would do the job.