The secret is out - frequent business travelers are taking time for fun and personal activities during their business trips. And, although most feel their break from work is well-deserved, many business travelers avoid telling their managers, co-workers and even spouses.
New research from the first National Car Rental State of Business Travel Survey shows frequent business travelers are displaying a healthy habit of managing work/life balance on the road – but many are keeping it to themselves. Overall, 80 percent of business travelers feel they deserve to take a break from work and make time for themselves during business trips. Yet 38 percent think telling their bosses about fun and/or personal activities while traveling is a "no-go;" 40 percent avoid telling co-workers; and 31 percent aren't telling their spouses or significant others. One fourth (25 percent) of business travelers even go so far as to avoid posting on social media about fun times had while on the road.
But all the secrecy may be unwarranted. Results from the National survey show that nearly all bosses and supervisors surveyed (92 percent) support their employees when they take time out to enjoy themselves while traveling for business.
"Business travel may seem glamorous to some, but the reality of navigating airports, managing hectic meeting schedules and sleeping in unfamiliar places can become tiresome and stressful over time," said Rob Connors, vice president of brand marketing for National. "We're in the business of helping frequent travelers mitigate some of that stress by providing them with an expedited, efficient rental process. So we were pleasantly surprised to see our survey results showed not only are frequent business travelers finding ways to balance both business expectations and personal interests on the road, but that their bosses support them in doing so."
In fact, striking that balance to make business travel more enjoyable has clear benefits. According to National's survey, despite the challenges, 92 percent of business travelers report feeling satisfied with their quality of life on the road. The majority (57 percent) report working more hours and 48 percent say they have more focus when traveling for business. In addition, 40 percent state they're more efficient on the road and 51 percent stay calmer when they travel for business compared to their everyday lives.
Further, 86 percent of business travelers report successfully managing their personal lives while on business travel. Eighty-three percent consider themselves "business travel pros" while 84 percent say they know how to make the most out of life while traveling for business.
Additional results from National's State of Business Travel Survey include:
2018 Business Travel Forecast
A large majority of frequent business travelers report they'll head out on as many or more business trips in 2018:
- Ninety percent of business travelers plan to travel at least the same amount or more in 2018 compared to 2017 (63 percent report traveling the same amount; 27 percent say they plan to travel more).
- Male millennials (41 percent) and Generation X females (36 percent) are the age groups who said they will most likely travel more in 2018.
- Eighty-nine percent are satisfied with the amount of business travel they do.
Baby Boomers Are Most Satisfied with Business Travel
When generations were surveyed, older audiences reported feeling the most satisfied with the state of their business travel.
- Baby Boomers (93 percent) were significantly more likely than Millennials (89 percent) and Generation X (86 percent) to be very or somewhat satisfied with the amount of business travel they do.
- Baby Boomers (94 percent) are also significantly more satisfied with their quality of life on the road compared with Generation X (90 percent).
- Generation X men are most dissatisfied with the quality of their life while on business travel (11 percent very or somewhat dissatisfied).
Business Travelers Take Advantage of Loyalty Programs and Technology
Business travelers report loyalty programs are high on their list of tools that help them master the business travel game:
- Sixty-six percent report membership in airline loyalty programs; 64 percent report membership in hotel loyalty programs; 39 percent report membership in car rental loyalty programs.
- Business travelers say smart phones and loyalty programs keep them more balanced and connected to their personal lives while on business trips (80 percent smartphones; 57 percent airline loyalty programs; 56 percent hotel loyalty programs; 28 percent car rental loyalty programs).
*The National Car Rental State of Business Travel Survey was conducted from December 4-11, 2017, among 1,000 U.S. frequent business travelers in Research Now's Business Travelers' database. At the time of the survey, participants had to have been 25 to 65 years of age, be currently employed or self-employed, and traveled in the past 12 months for business purposes with a minimum of eight total nights.
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