It’s no secret that employers are experiencing the most competitive labor market in decades. Yet, while the number of job vacancies persists, the number of job seekers has remained relatively flat compared to pre-pandemic levels. As a result, many employers have begun experimenting with various incentives, namely employee travel benefits, boosting retention and recruitment efforts.
Unlike other perks in employee benefits packages, like health or dental insurance, travel rewards are the most closely aligned with current employee preferences. At a time when the three most important considerations for employees are compensation, professional development, and better work-life balance, travel benefits enable employers to accommodate all three effectively.
The Basics of Employee Travel Benefits Packages
To understand how to incorporate employee travel perks into your benefits packages, you must first understand the concept of travel loyalty programs. Travel loyalty programs are a type of rewards program that incentivize customers to spend repeatedly with a particular travel brand, such as an airline or hotel chain. These programs typically offer travel-centric perks, such as free flights and hotel stays, in exchange for continued loyalty and spending with the specific brand.
What Types of Travel Loyalty Programs are Available?
Many travel loyalty programs are available, but the most common in employee travel benefits include airline loyalty programs, like Delta SkyMiles, hotel loyalty programs, like Marriott Bonvoy, and car rental loyalty programs, like Avis Preferred Plus.
- Airline loyalty programs offer travel rewards like free flights, complimentary seat upgrades, and exclusive airport lounge access.
- Hotel loyalty programs offer free stays, complimentary room upgrades, and other perks like free cocktails or refreshments.
- Car rental loyalty programs offer travel rewards like discounted prices, exclusive upgrades, and faster rental processes.
Aside from programs operated by a travel provider, like an airline, other travel loyalty programs, such as cruise or vacation packages, focus on specific travel-related services or products. These perks increase employee retention and satisfaction, enabling employers to access below-market rates on various high-ticket travel rewards.
How Do Travel Loyalty Programs Work?
Travel loyalty programs work by awarding customers points, miles, or other forms of currency in exchange for their continued loyalty. This currency can be redeemed for exclusive travel rewards, like free flights or hotel stays. The more customers use the brand’s services, the more currency they can earn — and the better travel rewards they can access.
Some loyalty programs offer tiered rewards, where customers earn more perks by reaching higher tiers based on loyalty. For example, employees enrolled in travel rewards in benefits packages can earn points through affiliated credit cards or other partnerships. Providing employees with more benefits can also give employers more bargaining power with travel suppliers.
4 Reasons to Offer Employee Travel Benefits
From a better work-life balance to improved performance, look at how travel rewards directly benefit employees.
1. Boost Employee Morale and Engagement
Employee travel benefits can be a great way to show employees you value their contributions and are willing to invest in their well-being. By providing travel opportunities, you allow employees to break out of their daily routines and experience new places and cultures, boosting morale and increasing work engagement. Individuals who feel valued and appreciated through employee travel rewards are up to four times more likely to be actively engaged at work.
2. Enhance Employee Recruitment Efforts
Travel benefits can be a powerful tool when attracting new talent to your organization. Job seekers are looking for more than just a salary; they want to work for an employer offering them various benefits that can enhance their quality of life. By providing employees travel rewards to elevate their vacation days, you differentiate your company to attract top candidates.
3. Increase Employee Retention and Reduce Turnover
Travel benefits can also be an effective way to retain the top talent within your organization. Employees who feel recognized for their contributions through travel rewards are five times as likely to feel connected to their workplace culture and equally as likely to see a path to growth in the organization. Travel benefits can also make it more difficult for competitors to lure away your best employees, which can help employers save up to $16.1 million in annual turnover costs.
4. Improve Employee Productivity and Performance
Finally, travel benefits can also help improve employee productivity and performance, partly due to enhanced work-life balance for hard-working employees. For example, employees who can take time off to recharge their batteries are often more productive when they return to work. In addition, travel can be a source of inspiration and creativity, benefiting employees in varied roles.
How to Implement an Employee Travel Benefits Package
To reap the full advantages of employee travel benefits, implement your travel loyalty program with these four simple steps.
Establish Program Guidelines and Policies
Before incorporating travel rewards in your employee benefits packages, it’s essential to establish clear guidelines and policies to ensure that the program is fair, transparent, and aligned with your business objectives. This step should include determining the types of rewards the employer will offer, the eligibility criteria for participation, and any restrictions or limitations on reward redemption.
Communicate Program Details to Employees
Once your program guidelines and policies are established, it’s crucial to communicate these details to employees clearly and concisely. Emphasize the program’s benefits, answer any employee questions or concerns, and publish the details anywhere employees can access them. Company-wide emails, presentations, or other internal communications can accomplish this.
Monitor Ongoing Program Success
To ensure your travel loyalty rewards program meets its objectives within employees’ benefits packages, you must track and measure its success over time. Monitoring ongoing program efficiency can be done by analyzing program participation rates, following the types and frequency of travel rewards redeemed, and conducting employee satisfaction surveys to gauge general feedback.
Apply Adjustments Based on Feedback
Based on the data collected through program tracking and employee feedback, adjusting the program as needed is paramount. Adjustments may involve tweaking reward offerings, changing eligibility criteria, or addressing other concerns. Continually refining and improving the program can ensure it remains effective and valuable to your employees.
Best Practices for Maximizing Employee Travel Benefits
Now is the ideal time to leverage employee travel benefits, and with a white label travel solution, it’s never been easier to offer employees exclusive perks. Remember to continuously educate employees on maximizing program benefits as you work through the kinks in your benefits package. Training sessions, handbooks, and online resources can help ramp up participation.
Likewise, employers should promote the program to employees through various channels, such as company-wide emails, posters, or announcements. Create friendly competition or challenges to encourage participation and engagement, and even offer bonus travel rewards to employees who achieve specific goals or milestones within the program, like booking a certain number of trips.
Lastly, don’t negate the impacts of offering flexible redemption options for employees. Provide employees with multiple options for redeeming rewards, such as cash bonuses, gift cards, or travel vouchers. You may also consider offering the ability for employees to transfer points to family members or friends, as this can increase participation and engagement in the program.
How to Navigate Potential Challenges with Travel Rewards
Like any new addition to your company, incorporating travel rewards into your employee benefits packages can incur some hiccups along the way. Fortunately, most challenges accompanying employee travel benefits have straightforward solutions like these.
Program Costs and Expenses
One of the biggest challenges of implementing a travel loyalty rewards program is managing the associated costs and expenses. Employers can address this challenge by setting transparent program budgets, exploring cost-saving measures such as negotiated rates with travel providers, and routinely tracking program expenses to ensure they align with overall business goals.
Logistics and Travel Arrangements
Managing the logistics and travel arrangements involved in travel rewards can be overwhelming. However, employers can overcome this challenge by partnering with a reputable travel management company that handles travel arrangements’ booking, coordination, and communication. Employers can also establish clear program policies to streamline the travel booking process.
Program Fairness and Transparency
It’s crucial to ensure that a travel program is fair and transparent so that all employees can earn rewards equally. Employers can achieve this by establishing clear program rules and guidelines, providing regular updates on program performance and standings, and soliciting employee feedback to ensure the program adequately meets their needs and expectations.
Privacy and Security Concerns
Employees may have concerns about the privacy and security associated with travel rewards, so employers must provide documentation that clearly outlines how employee data is collected, used, and protected. Employers should also implement strong data protection and security measures, including secure online portals for employees to access and manage their rewards accounts.
Seamlessly Incorporate Travel Rewards Benefits with arrivia
Few incentives like travel rewards can retain employees, recruit applicants, and revive company morale and productivity. However, for travel rewards to effectively benefit both employees and employers, the latter must take the appropriate steps to establish program guidelines, communicate program details, and optimize the program as necessary.
If the mechanics of a travel loyalty program seem too complicated to manage alongside current operations, streamline your approach with a white label solution like arrivia. When you want to seamlessly expand your employee rewards program to attract and retain the best talent in an increasingly competitive marketplace, request a demo to learn how arrivia can help.