How to build business travel surveys travelers will actually take

Asking business travelers what they think is an effective way to get the insights you need to build a strong corporate travel program and improve policies already in place.

Asking business travelers what they think is an effective way to get the insights you need to build a strong corporate travel program and improve policies already in place.

By Liudmila Buga

travel manager

Creating winning business travel survey questions is one of the secrets to optimizing your corporate travel program. Rolling out travel surveys will help you identify your program’s shortcomings so that you can have a stronger, more agile travel program for all your business travelers.

Building surveys with the goal of taking the key learnings and improving the overall experience for everyone involved is crucial since happy travelers mean productive travelers. So, let’s take a look at the 10 key steps you can use to implement winning business travel surveys.

Step 1: Set the goals for your corporate travel survey questions

When it comes time to designing a survey, make sure you have a goal in mind. 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.

No matter whether your goal is to optimize your travel policies, to help your travelers make the most of their business trips, or to simply get a feel for the health of your corporate travel program, having a goal in mind will make your surveys more effective. 

Step 2: Define stakeholder and survey review process

Involve relevant stakeholders in the survey process, from helping to build the questions, to reviewing the data insights extracted from it. You might Implicate colleagues in technology, data analysis, travel risk management, meetings, or finance who can help you with different aspects of the process. In the case of data analysts, they can help you better understand and utilize the data that is derived from the business travel survey.

Step 3: K.I.S.S. Keep it simple and specific

Keep the travel survey length and questions short and straightforward. No one will want to answer surveys that are too long, so the fewer the corporate travel survey questions, the better. 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 as open-ended questions take more time to answer and are harder to quantify. 

Step 4: 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. You should spend time creating great questions instead of trying to get your platform to work. 

Step 5: 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 have more incentive to participate monthly. Monitor responses and adjust survey plans accordingly.

Distribute the business travel survey questions when it makes the most sense

For example you may consider launching a business travel survey prior to travel policy rollouts or changes; following the rollouts to gauge effectiveness; or before 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.

travel reports

Step 6: Test it

Practice makes perfect, and this rule most definitely applies to business travel surveys. Make sure you pass along the survey “practice test” to your colleagues, to look out for content or formatting mistakes, unclear questions or responses, and overall practicality. This will help work out any kinks before you actually launch the questionnaire. 

Step 7: Report back

Grow confidence in your business travel program, by sharing survey results and demonstrating how they’ll be put into practice across your organization. Organize this report by writing a short summary of your findings, including visuals to support key data and help put the survey results in context.

Step 8: Think long term 

To help get an optimal number of responses each time you send a survey, focus on creating a diverse audience in terms of 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.

Step 9: Make it worthwhile

Encourage participants to take the survey by offering some form of incentivessuch as recognition badges, gifts, discounts, or entering them into a sweepstakes to win a prize. 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. 

Step 10: Review, refine and repeat

Once you have reached a shared understanding of the results, it’s important to review, refine and repeat the process. Surveys are an iterative process, meaning that it involves building, improving and refining. There is no such thing as a perfect survey or marketing campaign, so be sure you learn and refine as you go. After all, practice makes perfect. 

What did you learn about business travel survey questions?

Now that we’ve gone over the 10 steps to create a winning survey with the right corporate travel survey questions, you have all that’s necessary to nail your business travel program. Surveys give you a hand in obtaining valuable information of a large sample of individuals in a limited time and with limited resources required. 

Looking for more ways to optimize your travel program? Contact GetGoing and we’ll help you get traveling. 

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