Business travellers are time conscious and impatient; under pressure to ensure 24/7 availability; are technologically aware and security conscious; and report feelings of guilt over spending time away from the office and home, according to a study released by
Scandinavian Airlines (SAS).The research was the culmination of 18 months of research into the profile of today’s business traveller which SAS conducted among its frequent flyers, with more than 2, 500 Euro Bonus members contributing to the poll.
The modern business traveller is finally acknowledging the need to achieve an effective work/life balance to ensure consistently good performance at work. Yet, while both business travellers and companies acknowledge the importance of a good work/life balance, many respondents feel pressure to remain constantly available.
The modern business traveller is technologically savvy, impatient and strongly in favour of time saving initiatives. However, despite the frustration and stress caused by extended security procedures business travellers are not prepared to sacrifice their sense of security for a more expedient process. Unsurprisingly security procedure is a key concern of business travellers today and a leading cause of stress, with more than 80 per cent of respondents stating their journeys would be made less stressful by improved fast-track security measures.
Lars Ove-Filipson, General Manager SAS UK & Ireland said: “The needs and wants of our business customers vary greatly and the success of our business lies in our flexibility to cater to our wide audience. SAS is committed to listening and reacting to our customers needs and it is through this type of consultation that we took the decision to implement our unique fast track check-in services at Copenhagen and Stockholm, a product offered by no other carrier. We have introduced products and services that give our passengers what they want - whether this is fast track security, flexible one-way fares, increased flight frequencies or the innovative SAS Mobile Portal. All business travellers experience time pressure and our mobile portal is a superb time saving device which allows customers to check-in, check flight times, receive weather forecasts for their destination and even download city guides on SAS’ destinations worldwide, all through their mobile phone.”
The SAS study shows that business travellers are feeling the pressure to ensure they are constantly available when travelling on business. Increasing technological advancements has resulted in people feeling the pressure to be available 24/7. This is placing considerable pressure on travellers to be perpetually at the end of a phone or
e-mail device to ensure availability both for clients or colleagues. Respondents also claimed to prioritise the time they are able to ‘justifiably’ spend alone and look to maximise this with 65 per cent opting to take either a taxi (43 per cent) or a private car (22 per cent) when travelling to the airport. More than 80 per cent of the business travellers surveyed claimed to select an airport due to its proximity to home rather than the office, re-enforcing the finding that business people are focusing on the home/work balance.
Sixty five per cent of respondents reported support for onboard telephony with just over half (37 per cent) of the group claiming that they would definitely make use of their mobile phones during flights for text or phone capabilities. One business traveller stated “mobility and 24/7 connectivity will become the standard.” Mobile phone use in public places is a contentious issue and ninety-two per cent of respondents claimed that they would expect airlines to introduce and enforce etiquette for onboard mobile use. Many respondents commented on the premium they place on being ‘un-contactable’ whilst onboard and how they value the opportunity to work without interruptions. One frequent business traveller said “It is nice being uncontactable during a flight. One wants a peaceful flight to prepare for meetings on arrival.”
The modern business traveller is increasingly technologically aware and prizes convenience highly, although not at the cost of personal security. In a 2006 SAS business traveller study, just over half of respondents (53 per cent) favoured the introduction of more technologically advanced security procedures, including biometric security, as a way to restore confidence. Furthermore, in a 2007 study SAS found that 83% of business travellers find travelling more stressful than a year ago as a result of security procedures coupled with the present day climate.
Brand loyalty among business travellers ranked low on the list of priorities when choosing a carrier; whereas choice of airport was the primary motivator when planning business travel with, three out of every four respondents ranking airport choice as more important than carrier selection. SAS offers customers full airport combinability, meaning that travellers can elect to travel out from London Heathrow and return via London City Airport. SAS is the only airline serving Scandinavia to provide such flexibility and choice to its customers.