Autonomy. It’s a topic we’ve been seeing pop up frequently now that more people are working virtually than ever before. An online survey of over 25,000 Americans revealed that flexible work arrangements was one of the top reasons to hunt for a new job. That conclusion was far from surprising considering that autonomy can bring about a sense of empowerment and independence, which often leads to more productive, happier employees. According to 30SecondsToFly, employees that are given more autonomy are less likely to feel emotionally drained by conflicts at work.
Given the link between autonomy and productivity, it makes sense to build autonomy into the traveler experience. You can accomplish that by creating a traveler-centric experience that suits individual needs, tastes, and likes. Here are some suggested ways to go about it:
- Gather feedback from colleagues on preferences and expectations when they travel for work.
- Check out technology trends and offerings in the travel industry to support their views.
- Refer to our Atlas blog for tips on building flexibility into your travel program.
- Consider some of our solutions that suit a wide range of travel preferences.
As you look into your colleagues’ travel preferences, you may find that many of them favor self-service technology tools that help them manage their time. Offerings that help them stay healthy and fit while on the go might also be appealing. We’ve been finding that wellness and self-service have become increasingly popular in the travel industry. Diving deeper, we noticed that:
Self-service car rentals are gaining ground. Hertz offers automated rent-a-car kiosks at select locations in Europe where you can pick up your car after business hours. In the US, Alamo offers a skip-the-counter option at certain locations that lets you go directly to your vehicle once you submit your payment.
A wellness center opened at JFK airport. XpresSpa Group provides spa and wellness services at 21 airports worldwide, yet JFK is the first physical location for the group’s Treat brand. Travelers who visit the New York airport can get services that range from virus tests to virtual fitness sessions.
Many travelers want to make their own room selection. At least that was the finding from a survey of Hilton Honors members. So now when travelers use the Hilton Honors app, they can choose their room as early as 6 am the day before arrival. Mobile key and digital check-in and checkout are a few other ways the app places the trip in the hands of the traveler.
Ways we help to empower travelers
You can also build autonomy in the traveler experience by working with us. Creating solutions that revolve around travelers is our ongoing focus. That’s evident from the broad range of accommodations within our booking platforms to the multitude of ways travelers can chat with our travel counselors for assistance.
For example, when trip planning, travelers get a single source of destination information through Travel Vitals® so they’re equipped to make smart booking decisions. That same information feeds into our travel app in a customized pre-trip summary once they’ve booked their trip.
By using our NeoTM self-service booking tool, they can book a trip however they like: a single segment or an end-to-end itinerary. If the trip involves a flight, they can see what’s included in the airfare like seat selection, priority check-in, and boarding – a similar experience as booking leisure travel.
Lots of cost-saving booking options and complimentary amenities can also be enticing to travelers. According to our reporting in May 2022, when our clients book our Preferred ExtrasTM rates, they’ll find over 27,000 accommodations worldwide. Many of those rates include perks like complimentary breakfast and discounts off food and drinks, based on our contractual agreements. And when it comes to flights, they’ll get flexible terms on major routes.
Travelers in search of nearby restaurants serving their favorite cuisine or the latest hot spots can check out Resy. This restaurant reservation platform is a part of the American Express family of brands and easy to access online, through our Atlas or the Resy app.
For those travelers like C-suite executives that require a higher level of service, we go a step above, offering a VIP experience that’s customized to individual needs. Services like limousine rides to and from the airport are tailored to the unique requirements of the traveler.
All of these solutions merely touch on the ways in which we help build autonomy in the traveler experience. Would you like to find out about more?