ALEXANDRIA, VA – Business travelers who sign up for TSA PreCheck, to avoid the hassles and delays of the security screening process, are significantly more satisfied with air travel than their peers who have yet to enroll in the program. In fact, two thirds (66 percent) of travelers enrolled in TSA PreCheck are satisfied with getting through airport security, compared with just 47 percent of business travelers not enrolled in the program.
Similarly, those enrolled in TSA PreCheck are more likely to be satisfied with traveling on an airplane – 66 percent, compared to 54 percent for those not enrolled. TSA PreCheck is a risk-based screening system designed to make the air travel process safer, smoother and more secure. These findings come from the GBTA Business Traveler Sentiment Index™, a survey from the GBTA Foundation, the education and research arm of the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA), in partnership with American Express.
“GBTA has long supported risk-based approaches to passenger security that both make the process more efficient and more secure,” said Michael W. McCormick, Executive Director and COO of the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA). “This insight into the mindset and attitudes of business travelers shows that programs like this work and make for a better business travel experience.”
The survey provides a snapshot of business travelers who participate in the PreCheck program, indicating that Baby Boomers (55+) are enrolled at much higher rates than other generations — 51 percent of Baby Boomers surveyed are enrolled; compared to 37 percent of Gen Xers (35-54); and just 32 percent of Millennials (18-34).
Getting through security at the airport is consistently cited as one of the largest pain points for business travelers. In this survey, just 55 percent of business travelers report they are satisfied with the security process, compared to 83 percent satisfaction for business travelers staying at hotels and 80 percent satisfaction for making their own travel arrangements.
Increasing Comfort with Technology to Manage and Track Expenses
Additionally, the survey finds a significant increase in satisfaction with quarterly expense reporting. Satisfaction with keeping track of receipts increased to 71 percent in Q4 from 59 percent in Q3, while satisfaction for using a personal credit card to pay for business expenses increased to 70 percent in Q4, compared to 62 percent in Q3.
“Employees are looking for simple, streamlined ways to report expenses so that the process is no more complicated on the road versus at the office,” said Terry Bodensteiner, Vice President, American Express Global Corporate Payments. “Digital reporting tools lead to better employee experiences with travel overall.”
This increase may be caused by Baby Boomers who are increasingly comfortable with using digital tools for expense management. From keeping track of receipts (80 percent satisfaction for Boomers, compared to 72 percent of Gen Xers and 59 percent of Millennials) to completing their expense reports (74 percent for Boomers, compared to 65 percent of Gen Xers and 55 percent of Millennials), at least seven in ten Baby Boomer business travelers are very satisfied with their company’s expense reporting practices as well as their ability to comply with them.
Although they are catching up with their younger co-workers in some areas, Baby Boomers (52%) are much less likely than Millennials (73%) and even Gen Xers (66%) to say it is important for them to be able to access their travel itinerary or expenses while on the road via a mobile device.
Business + Leisure = “Bleisure”
The survey also explored feelings and actions around extending business trips for personal and recreational purposes, known as “bleisure” travel. Two-thirds (67 percent) of business travelers report that the option of extending their business trips for leisure travel is important to them, and 36 percent of these bleisure travelers surveyed report actually doing so in just the past three months alone.
Millennials, women and workers at small- to medium-sized companies most often reported bleisure travel:
• Millennials report extending a business trip to include leisure travel at higher rates than Gen Xers and Baby Boomers (43 percent, compared to 34 percent and 35 percent, respectively);
• 41 percent of women extended business trips, compared to 34 percent of men;
• 45 percent of employees at companies with 1-249 employees extended trips, compared to 38 percent at companies with 250-499 employees; and 30 percent at companies of 500 or more.
Those extending business trips for leisure time more often travel with a spouse or significant other (52 percent) and do so to explore and enjoy the destination (63 percent) or to visit friends or family members (48 percent). Likely because of their age, Millennials are much less likely to bring a spouse or significant other (43 percent) than Gen Xers (59 percent). The importance of bleisure travel could be a way employees are trying to maintain a solid work/life balance even while on the road, as they look to extend business trips with personal vacations.