Business travellers from the UK are staying in a hotel on average 13 nights a year and a quarter of those admitted to staying away on business even if they don’t need to.
The survey of 1,000 business travellers in the UK was commissioned by hotel solutions provider HRS and the results beg the question of whether they are taking advantage with extra nights away, or whether it is bosses who are exploiting their travelling staff.
For UK employees on business in Europe, on average, the flight time needed to be at least two and a half hours to get the green light from management to stay the night in a hotel. For trips in the UK, a hotel stay was justified if the drive was three hours or more. Sixty per cent said they enjoyed having an overnight stay on business.
For those travelling from London airports to destinations with a flight time of less than two and a half hours, employees are typically expected to travel back on the same day. HRS asks whether this puts a company’s duty of care into question and the performance of the employee in meetings under real pressure.
Jon West, Managing Director of HRS in the UK and Ireland (pictured), said: “It’s staggering to think that bosses expect their employees to travel abroad, attend a full day’s meeting and return on the same day. Travelling abroad can add a huge amount of pressure on an employee and affect their performance, and bosses should really consider their duty of care to the workforce.”
But is every night’s stay away on business truly justified? Of the quarter of those asked who admitted to sometimes staying away on business even if they didn’t need to, half said they liked to do so because it’s simply nice to stay in a hotel, while a quarter said it was nice to get away from home for a night.
Despite people often bemoaning the fact that they have to stay away on business to their colleagues, the findings do seem to show that in reality some people see a night away as a perk of the job.
On average employees had four hours of free time to themselves when staying away on business, with the majority saying they used this to relax in the hotel, enjoy hotel facilities such as the restaurant or spa, sleep or catch up with family or friends on the phone. Some business travellers (11%) also took time out for a spot of sightseeing around the local area.
Only eight per cent said that they used their free time to catch up on work – but perhaps this is because some work while in transit to and from their destination.
The HRS survey noted that Managing Directors clocked up the most nights away, averaging 17 nights, followed by senior management at 16 nights. People working in industries such as electronics, energy and utilities, and transport and logistics, on average clocked up nearly 19 nights away annually.
The top four reasons cited when justifying a night away on business included the time of meeting, nature of the meeting, journey itinerary and the importance of the client.
When asked about what influences their choice of hotel, it was clear that business travellers place real importance on convenience. Nearly half (46%) said that the location from the meeting place was the priority, followed by the distance from the airport or train station (22%), while 17 per cent cited distance from the city centre.
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