By: George Kalka, Sr. Director, Global Sales
The top echelon of travelers within many organizations lives a unique lifestyle compared to most other employees. These travelers spend more time away on business than at home—needless to say, they travel much differently than their colleagues who only take occasional business trips. These road warriors often fill critical roles within their organizations as decision makers or ‘go-to’ employees who get the job done. Yet despite the uniqueness of their roles and travel demands, many organizations manage road warriors to the same general policy applied to any traveling employee.
The concept of traveler friction is proven. As the frequency of travel increases and comfort diminishes, employees face intensified stressors related to their travel experience. Bottom line—top road warriors are at risk for extreme levels of travel stress and fatigue. Proactive organizations are finding ways to ease the burden of travel to reduce burnout and retain these critical employees.
What can you do? Begin by having a conversation with your road warriors. Understand the benefits gained by frequent travel and then work together to create a policy for road warriors that provides them with flexibility while still maintaining fiscal responsibility.
Here’s an idea to start: develop a preferred airline program with your most frequent travelers. Both your road warriors and the organization can gain the following benefits from sticking with one airline:
- Road warriors can reach a premier frequent flyer level when allowed to fly a single airline whenever possible.
- Road warriors can then book economy fares, yet sit in the front of the plane… controlling costs for the organization, while being productive away from the office in the roomier seats.
- Free seat upgrades often also provide a free meal.
- Club memberships provided to premier flyers can avoid additional meal and wi-fi costs while helping to keep the employee comfortable and productive during airport wait times.
- Road warriors are pushed to the top of the re-accommodation list with their preferred airline when travel is disrupted, allowing them a fighting chance to still arrive at their destination and conduct the business they originally set out to accomplish.
- Same-day flight changes often don’t incur additional fees. Aside from cost savings to the organization, the road warrior benefits from an increased work-life balance when they can catch an earlier flight home without penalty.
A proactive travel management company (TMC), like Fox World Travel, will help you manage and report on a road warrior program. Your TMC can administer your road warrior group uniquely from your general travel policy, allowing you to provide flexibility with airline selection while allowing you to measure airfare variances between the lowest flight offered and the road warriors’ selected carrier.
Loyalty at this premier level does come at a price, and sometimes the road warrior’s preferred airline is a higher fare. But they’re receiving benefits such as increased productivity, avoidance of meal expenses, and travel disruption assistance that an infrequent traveler does not. These benefits bring measurable value to the organization and at the same time reduce the road warrior’s travel stress. Why shouldn’t the travel policy account for it?
George Kalka is the Sr. Director, Global Sales at Fox World Travel. In his role, Kalka works with organizations to deliver Fox’s proven global travel management solutions by providing cost reductions and industry-leading technology, while enriching the service provided to their travelers. Prior to Fox, George spent over 15 years in the hospitality industry serving in regional, national and executive sales roles.