Tuesday, April 24 is the first National Business Traveler Day, an initiative of Upside.com that includes the opportunity to win one of the thousands of available prizes we recently discussed in our blog. The car-related partners of Upside's initiative are Hertz and Uber for Business but there's also a pre-existing State of Business Travel Survey conducted by National Car Rental. Like any other industry, there's a lot of "stepping on toes" in the rental car industry and National only releases select figures from their research, just as parent Enterprise only released some facts from their adulting survey and Alamo studies family vacations -- Enterprise Holdings definitely does market segment research! What was National willing to tell us about the State of Business Travel?
Most business travelers are happy on the road.
National divides sample respondents into three categories:
- Baby Boomers -- those business travelers aged 54-65
- Generation X -- those business travelers aged 38-53 (covers Jonathan and me)
- Millennials -- those business travelers aged 25-37 (covers most of AutoSlash team, to which Chris might object)
The survey items were related to satisfaction, the frequency of travel, hours worked, amount of time slept, efficiency/productivity, and even the amount of time travelers take for fun activities. AutoSlash clearly schedules time for fun activities, such as museums and racing Ferraris!
What's not surprising about National's findings? Younger travelers have a greater expectation of having "fun" while on business travel and those individuals do report using frequent traveler programs -- a majority use airline and hotel programs while a minority participate in rental car programs; the AutoSlash team sadly thinks about those free rental days wasted although we already knew most travelers don't take advantage of rental car programs!
National had some findings we found surprising -- Baby Boomers were the most pleased with their amount of business travel, bosses were more likely than employees to report that business travelers should take some time for fun on business trips, only 79 percent of business travelers use smartphones, and 8 percent of business travelers claim they don't get better at mastering business travel the more trips they take. And among those frequent business travelers, there's this line:
In addition, smartphones and loyalty programs also keep business travelers more balanced and connected to their personal lives while on a business trip (80 percent smartphones; 57 percent airline loyalty programs; 56 percent hotel loyalty programs; 28 percent car rental loyalty programs).
Our team has multiple members who have spent more than 50% of a year on the road for business travel; one of our biggest motivators was knowing that we were always a phone call away. In addition, the combination of airline, hotel, and rental car loyalty programs (while pocketing most of our per diems) meant that the points/miles/credits/cash accrued during our business travel provided absolute blow-out vacations for our families and closest friends. Business travel might take one away from home but can -- and in our belief system, should -- result in more opportunities for personal and family adventures. In fact, my own strong connection to survey sponsor National Car Rental is based upon the ability to redeem a free award day for a one-way rental at any time, opening up lots of experiential travel opportunities! Ignoring the best loyalty programs in various travel segments is folly -- I even have a preferred airport parking program that generates free parking days for personal trips and is cheaper than airport parking after a discount for past government service.
Love (or love to hate) business travel? Click through to see National's Fact Sheet summary of their research -- the full report is not available to the public -- and then start planning your next trip (business or leisure) by requesting quotes below. We'll send you the lowest offers within minutes and leave the decision about rental company (and loyalty program) to you!