| Liudmila Buga

How to build surveys business travelers will actually take

Asking business travelers what they think is an effective way to get the insights you need to build a strong travel program or improve policies already in place. One of the simplest ways to capture traveler voices? A survey. Rolling out traveler surveys will help you solve specific problems. Here’s a guide to help you plan it.

Set the goals for your travel survey.

For example: as you consider resuming or expanding your travel program, your goal might be to understand your traveler’s new working approach while traveling for business. Keep the goal in mind when planning your questions. (We’ll talk more about questions below.)

Define stakeholder and survey review process.

 Embrace relevant stakeholders in the survey, from building the questions to reviewing the data insights pulled from it. You might tap into colleagues in technology, data analysis, travel risk management, meetings, or payment and expense.

K.I.S.S. Keep it simple and specific.

Keep the survey length and questions short and straightforward. No one will want to answer surveys that are too long. Our insider experts suggest creating surveys that take no longer than eight minutes to complete. The questions should offer a range or scale of response options.

Select a user-friendly survey tool. 

We’ll leave it up to you to decide what survey platform to go with, since there are tons of suitable options out there. Just keep in mind to check reviews and make sure the tool is intuitive. It should meet your needs for the types of questions you wish to ask and offer built-in analytics capabilities.

Plan survey frequency and timing.

Survey your travelers as often as you need to, but don’t overwhelm them. Your survey frequency should depend on your goals. If the travelers are engaged and highly motivated (e.g., by incentives) they may be keen to participate monthly. Monitor responses and adjust survey plans accordingly.

Distribute the survey when it makes the most sense, e.g., prior to travel policy rollouts or changes; following the rollouts to gauge effectiveness; or ahead of major events or holidays where the targeted audience is likely to miss the survey communication.

Decide how long your survey should remain open. The best practice for the GetGoing internal research team is generally a two-week survey window. Send reminders three days to one week after the survey opens. If the response is underwhelming, it’s okay to send a gentle reminder email. Don’t forget: a catchy subject line with a call to action is always a good idea.

Test it.

Pass along the survey “practice test” to your colleagues, to look out for content or formatting mistakes, unclear questions or responses, and overall practicality.

Report back.

Grow confidence in your travel program, by sharing survey results and demonstrating how they’ll be put into practice across your organization.

Think long term. 

To help get an optimal number of responses each time you survey, focus on creating a diverse audience in geolocation language, gender, age, and tenure. The better your survey participants represent the actual company of business travelers, the more relevant your insights.

Keep in mind that this global representation won’t happen after a single survey. It will improve over time, especially if you can demonstrate how your survey insights directly influence travel program policies.

Make it worthwhile.  Encourage participants to take the survey by offering some form of incentives, such as recognition badges, gifts, discounts, or sweepstakes. Make sure your invitations and incentives are targeted to the right traveler profiles. Otherwise, you might attract less helpful attention from go-getters searching for freebies.

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