Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Indian professionals allow work and leisure to mingle on travel. TripAdvisor survey shares insights

56% respondents claimed they extended business trips for personal travel in the past one year
82% respondents check work emails on holiday

TripAdvisor®, the world’s largest travel site*, today revealed the findings of its survey on Mixing Business & Leisure on Travel. The survey was conducted among actively employed professionals* of whom over 75% travel often or occasionally for work. These respondents include a large sample of frequent travellers (30% undertook 3-5 domestic business trips in the last 6 months and 41% took at least 1-2 international business trips in the past 6 months.) Over 50% respondents were professionals with 6-15 years of work experience and 21% were senior professionals with work experience between 16-25 years.

According to Nikhil Ganju, Country Manager, TripAdvisor India, “The findings from our survey indicate that Indian professionals are exploring opportunities to make room for leisure on business trips as well as willing to accommodate work on holiday.”

Elaborating further, he adds “The survey shows a high propensity for working   professionals to make time for a holiday when they are travelling for work, as 69% respondents said they extend their business trips for personal travel sometimes. Hhighlighting a desire to be actively connected to work and clued in, even while they are on a break, 82% respondents check mails and 94% take or make work calls on holiday.”

Make Time To Play At Work

While business trip schedules are choked with meetings, conferences, market visits and playing catch up with work mail on Smartphones , the survey finds that the top 3 things that people still try and find time for are : 
  • Try/eat out at popular restaurants in the city (78%)
  • Visit some local tourist spots (75%)
  • Catch up with a friend in that city (66%)

Interestingly, family loving Indians seem to prefer catching up with a friend in the city compared to meeting relatives which featured lowest among other options!

The survey also found that as many as 83% respondents extend their business trips to accommodate personal holiday/leisure break sometimes, often or always. However, in the past one year, 56% respondents have actually extended business trips to make time for a personal break.

While majority of 65% respondents said they never tried to manipulate a work trip, 35% respondents admitted to deliberately planning business trips that were not really required, for simply a break/change from office routine (14%) or because the trip gave them an opportunity to plan a holiday in or around the business trip destination(13%).

Probing deeper into the travellers psyche, the survey asked respondents to select reasons for which they were likely to extend their business trip for personal travel. The top reasons that emerged as incentive to club work travel with a personal trip were, travelling for work to a city/country where they/their family would like to take a holiday (57%) or travelling close to a holiday destination of interest to them or their family (48%).

Wired To Work On Holiday

The Indian professional appears to be addicted to work with a whopping 82% admitting to checking work e-mails while on vacation. Of these, while 61% check their e-mails daily, 15% are constantly checking their inbox. What’s even more surprising is that respondents acknowledge it isn’t employer expectation or pressure but personal choice that they stay connected to work mail on holiday. And to top that, 60% respondents felt working on holiday didn’t reduce their holiday enjoyment; in fact it actually helps them relax better.

According to the survey, key reasons why employees choose to check work mails on holiday:
“I find I can relax more if I keep an eye on what’s happening at work” (43%)
“It helps reduce the number of emails I have to read when I return” (42%)
“To help my colleagues when I am away” (40%)
“I love my job and like to stay connected” (39%)

Further strengthening this trend, the survey finds 94% respondents   make/ take work related calls while on holiday out of which 23% make/take calls often or always, while one-third decide on taking/making calls depending on who is calling them.

Smartphone is the device of choice for a majority of 62% respondents to manage work on holiday, followed closely by the traditional laptop at 59%. Tablet adoption seems to be catching up with 22% using it for remote work management.

No Stress From Employer or Spouse

For the Indian professional, support begins at home as 77% respondents confirmed they never argued or had a fight with their spouse/partner for working on holiday. Supporting this further, 89% respondents said they don’t need to hide that they are working on holiday for fear of upsetting their partners.

Employers also seem to be reasonable as 73% respondents said their managers expect them to be accessible or work on holiday only in case of emergencies.

A question of ethics

It is interesting to note that 58% respondents do not consider it unethical to use air miles or hotel points from business trips for personal use:
  • 57% respondents said that they used airline miles collected on business trips for their personal travel.
  • 50% respondents indicated that they use hotel reward points collected on business trips for their personal travel. 

This could be a result of seemingly liberal company policies as 67% respondents confirmed that their organisation does not prohibit employees from using airline miles or hotel points accumulated from business trips for personal use.

*survey sample does not include self-employed professionals.


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