Employee satisfaction is not always about money. Business owners in today’s job market can often compel and retain employees with a variety of other perks and intangibles, like making business travel actually enjoyable.
For some, corporate travel is a mandatory part of their job. Whether you travel once a year or multiple times a month, it has the potential to be stressful. As an employer, if you are requiring your employees to commit time and energy to travel on behalf of your company this might be a good opportunity to turn a necessity into benefit. And as an employee, take advantage of all the tools at your disposal. Not only will your traveler satisfaction increase but your overall job satisfaction just may do the same.
Traveling for business can be simultaneously productive and enjoyable if you approach your trips with adequate planning and the right mindset. Below are some tips that all employees- from the first-time business traveler to the seasoned road warrior- should adopt for their sanity and best possible corporate travel experiences.
Familiarize yourself with the benefits of Trusted Traveler programs. If you aren’t already a member of a Trusted Traveler program, become one. Overall, getting through airport security is an area of frustration for frequent business travelers and these programs offer tools to help mitigate these hassles without having to sacrifice productivity.
For $85, U.S. citizens can obtain TSA PreCheck and be granted access to express lane service at security checkpoints at domestic airports.
Global Entry is a U.S. Customs and Border Protection program that allows expedited clearance for pre-approved, low-risk travelers upon arrival in the United States from an international flight.
Global Entry's related programs NEXUS and SENTRI can also add immense value for those who live near border crossings. The NEXUS program allows pre-screened travelers expedited processing when entering the United States and Canada. For only $50 your Nexus number translates as your TSA PreCheck as well as Global Entry number. It’s easily the best bang for your buck, is one of the most thoroughly vetted trusted traveler programs, and is the one I personally recommend for my fellow New Yorkers!
Employer tip: Cover the cost of these types of programs for your employees. They’ll appreciate you having their best interest at heart and you’ll be rewarded with happier, more productive employees.
And employees: You’ll be able to utilize these benefits for personal travel too so show gratitude towards your employer.
Stay connected and engaged. Sign up for as many frequent flier and hotel rewards programs as possible. They are FREE and the more frequently you travel with repeat vendors, the quicker you’ll rack up loyalty points. You’ll also want to download an app that can track and manage your itineraries and send you real time updates regarding your flights, hotel check-in, and car rental pickup reminders. TripCase is a great one.
Be mindful of what you’re eating. Traveling can make being healthy quite a challenge but it doesn’t have to be. Bring your own food! I always travel with a stash of healthy snacks such as protein bars, chopped veggies, granola, trail mix, and jerky. By packing your own, you’ll save money not having to buy airport snacks and will have the peace of mind knowing you are making healthy snack decisions. And I am always surprised by how many people do not know this: you can bring food from home in carry-on luggage. If you have a sandwich in a Ziploc baggie, hard boiled eggs, or grilled chicken in Tupperware, they will not be confiscated at security. The only items that are prohibited are liquids.
Bleisure travel. Many business professionals loathe business travel and after years on the road, it can be draining. You miss birthdays, anniversaries and important family functions. However, with the growing trend of “bleisure” travel, it doesn’t have to be all bad. If your company is sending you on a bicoastal trip or to a conference, extend your trip through the weekend and fly your significant other to join you. It’s a win-in: as an employee you’ll save a ton of money since your company is already paying for your flights and as an employer, you can expect more satisfied employees.
Random tip: Leave a scanned copy of your license and/or passport and a travel itinerary with several people back at the office. Carry another copy with you as well separate from your original documents. Trust me- losing your ID while on the road is a genuine nightmare.
Adopt some of these practices to save time, lessen stress, and increase traveler satisfaction.