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Singaporeans might get stressed out by business trips, but there’s no denying they’re a necessary part of doing business.
Some companies get it right – 88% of corporate travellers rate their last trip at successful – but for the few who are travelling for the sake of it (and wasting money in the process) there are a few things to learn about efficiency and keeping employees happy.
Carlson Wagonlit Travel recently surveyed 10,000 business travellers on their most recent experiences, getting feedback to offer to bosses and HR leaders on reducing the number of unsatisfactory trips.
1. Squeeze in more meetings and meeting time
More meetings equals more value. While a trip with only one meeting produced an unsatisfactory result 19% of the time, the report found that every additional meeting reduced the probability of an unsuccessful trip by about 10%.
“If the return on a given trip is the sum of the returns of the meetings which took place during that trip, then more meetings will generate more value and implicitly fewer failed trips,” the report stated.
Related to the number of meetings was the time spent in meetings during the trip. In 38% of the unsuccessful trips, the cumulative meeting time was four hours or less.
“When the cumulative meeting time is one hour or less, the probability of an unsuccessful trip is 28%. This probability is reduced to 8% when meetings take up a total of two days or more.”
2. Book longer trips in advance
The study found on average, longer trips fail less often. This was mainly because, as per the first point, employees are able to fit in more meetings, deriving more value. In addition, the longer the trip was booked in advance, the less likely it was found to fail. In fact, a trip booked more than three days in advance had a 79% chance of being successful.
“Longer trips tend to be booked earlier, and so more time is available to travelers for meeting planning and preparation.”
3. Plan international trips
The study delved into the failure and success rates for the three main trip types: domestic, continental and intercontinental.
The probability of having an unsuccessful trip was the highest for domestic travel (14%), followed by continental (12%) and intercontinental (9%).
“Explaining this decrease is the fact that international trips are typically longer and booked earlier, so more meetings can be better arranged and prepared.”
4. Get the boss to travel
Lastly, the seniority of the traveller in question was also found to have an impact on success. The highest rates of unsuccessful trips (15-16%) were observed for employees at the administrative or associate levels. The probability decreased to 11% and 7% for the manager-level and director-level employees, respectively.
“The trend reverses at the level of vice-president and above (11%); this is related to the higher demand for frequent travel on corporate executives, which ultimately reduces the advance booking and meeting preparation time.”