The Business Travel Magazine Dec/Jan 2019/20

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traveller wellbeing

More importantly it's being driven by the

employees themselves who are interested

in investing in their own welfare and

personal development. It's therefore crucial

that employers are catering to this newly

engaged audience.

“Offering training on how to take better

care of yourself can have a positive impact

on traveller welfare. Wellbeing courses are

becoming increasingly popular,” says Eric

Tyree, Vice President, CTO & Chief Data

Scientist at CWT.

There’s also a steadily growing demand

for travellers to be given a license for

'bleisure' activities as well. This might be as

simple as allowing travellers to stay the

weekend at a destination.”

Part of that wider process also involves

providing more pre-trip medical screening

– often offered by third parties and TMCs –

and pre-trip wellbeing questionnaires. These

involve asking travellers specific questions

about their current mental health needs or

psychological issues around pre-existing or

newly developing conditions.

“It's not about stopping people travelling.

It's to help better support them and put

measures in place while they're abroad,”

says Deborah Avery, Head of International

Assistance at Anvil Group.

“It is all about early identification and

giving individuals the confidence that they

know support is there and in whatever

format they may need it.”

Stepping up to the mark

With this groundswell of wellbeing activity,

business travel providers are also having to

up their game and offer something for both

the buyer and traveller. Some hotels now

provide ‘natural’ lighting to help with sleep

problems business travellers often face, or

airport lounges that have their own

wellness initiatives. Amsterdam’s Schiphol

Airport, for example, even has its own

meditation centre.

“We’re now seeing customers ask for

certain hotel chains to be included in their

policies because they meet their particular

duty of care and wellbeing standards,”

states Vicki Williams, Director of Sales &

Implementation at Click Travel.

There is no doubt that incorporating

wellbeing into any travel programme is a

complex issue. It also involves making a

wide range of detailed decisions. The

challenges are always going to be around

cost and there is always going to be a tradeoff.

But wellbeing is all about thinking of

employees in a wider context. Travel trip

ROI, employee retention and welfare all

come into play. “Each company has to work

out their own balance,” explains Tyree –

and there lies the crux of the matter.

The good thing is

that the genie is

out of the bottle, with high

profile figures such as

Prince Harry and other

celebrities highlighting

mental health issues”

[ Tips on traveller wellbeing ]

• Raise awareness. Start talking about the

challenges and potential issues openly with

travellers and encourage them to manage

their own wellbeing and healthy routines

whilst on trips. Having honest conversations

and dialogue with travellers is essential.

• Draw up a wellbeing plan. The idea is to

bring HR, procurement, buyers and

managers together around a single source

of truth that aligns company and wellbeing

objectives. Clearly articulated, they will give

direction as to what you want to achieve.

• Build flexible travel plans. This can include

levels of downtime, either during trips or on

people’s return, plus details of rest days,

training, classes of travel, even sourcing

hotels with fitness facilities and healthier

eating. Recognise what you can achieve.

• Measure everything. If you are

implementing a wellbeing policy you need to

know whether the changes you put in place

will actually make a difference. You also

need a baseline set of parameters before

you start up any policy.

• Start small. Creating an all-singing,

all-dancing programme can cause

headaches. Pick a handful of changes you

would like to implement when it comes to

wellness and see how things improve.

THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.com

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