Business Travelers Cite Technology as Key to Work-Life Balance on the Road

On business trips, free Wi-Fi is almost as important as a comfortable hotel bed, or so say U.S. road warriors surveyed by the Global Business Traveler Association and Cambria Suites earlier this month.

Their reasoning? To reach an overall goal of better work-life balance - important to 87% of respondents - while delivering on their employers’ expectations of greater efficiency and effectiveness of each trip.

Read on for the ways technology helps business travelers achieve work-life productivity - and the one way it fails.

Work. It’s no secret that technology makes business travel more efficient and productive (78% of respondents agree), giving travelers the ability to work on important documents and collaborate with colleagues from virtually anywhere. What’s surprising is that 56% of respondents cited the right hotel as the most important factor that could affect trip productivity. Apart from meetings, it’s where road warriors will spend most of their time during the trip, and if the hotel doesn’t have Wi-Fi access (or charges an arm and a leg for it) those are wasted hours that could have been spent catching up on emails or putting the final touches on a presentation.

Life. Business travelers are sacrificing valuable personal time with loved ones during trips, which can make it seem like work is taking the upper hand in the delicate a balancing act. 81% of travelers surveyed use technology to stay connected to friends and family during down-time on the trip, which is most likely spent at the hotel. Whether connecting on email, video calling programs or social networks - all depend on the hotel’s Internet access.

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While many businesses are more efficient and effective with the use of technology, no amount of videoconferencing or emailing can replace the value of face-to-face meetings.  79% of travelers cited in-person meetings as vital to the success of their business, and 76% said it helps their companies grow.

Therefore, businesses will continue to send their warriors on the road, yet are scrutinizing travel costs. Almost a third of travelers are staying less frequently at full-service or luxury hotels which could detract from the comfortable bed aspect of productivity. The upside is that mid-scale and economy hotels are far more likely to offer free Wi-Fi.