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Study Shows Cost-Focused Travel Policies May Hinder Trip Success and Retention

New Data Based on Road Warrior Insights Sheds Light into the Impact of Corporate Travel



ARLINGTON, Va. – October 11, 2018 – Airlines Reporting Corp. (ARC) today released a detailed study that challenges the wisdom of emphasizing cost savings when managing business travel. The research finds that management should prioritize trip success rates and retention of their frequent corporate travelers. The study, “Achieving Better Business Travel Results: Insights from U.S. Road Warriors,” conducted by ARC and sponsored by Delta Air Lines, FlightGlobal and tClara, was presented today at ARC’s 2018 TravelConnect conference currently taking place in National Harbor, Md.


“Cost savings are roughly 1 percent of the economic value added by road warriors, so it makes much more sense to focus on how to increase the road warrior’s value-add,” says Scott Gillespie, ARC’s head of analytics and CEO of tClara. “This means increasing the road warrior’s trip success rate and their willingness to travel, and decreasing their burnout and attrition risks.”


This report examines insights from 742 U.S.-based road warriors on the topics of trip success, attrition and retention, their desire to travel and what it takes to experience burnout. Findings reveal the negative impact of cost-focused travel policies; the keys to reducing road warrior attrition risk; the importance of traveler sleep, health and safety and the benefits of better quality travel. Senior executives can use these findings to significantly re-shape their corporate travel program’s strategic priorities. Doing so should lead to more successful trips and better road warrior retention and wellness.


Key findings include:

  • Road warriors, those who spent at least 35 nights away from home and took at least four trips by airplane over the last 12 months, say there is a 24 percent chance that they will voluntarily leave their employer in the next two years. Those managed by cost-focused travel policies are twice as likely to leave than those managed by traveler-focused policies (33 percent risk vs. 17 percent risk)
  • Road warriors rated 63 percent of their trips as mostly or very worthwhile. Those managed by traveler-focused policies reported a trip success rate nine points higher than their cost-focused peers (66 percent vs. 57 percent)
  • Forty-eight percent of road warriors say they hope to travel less often in two years. They view more comfortable travel and increased rewards and recognition from airlines and hotels as the two most important factors for their willingness to keep traveling as much as they do now.
  • Nearly three-quarters of all road warriors said these factors are very often or always important to their business trip success:

Hotels (73 percent), especially a comfortable bed, pillows and temperature; a quiet room and good Wi-Fi

Flights (68 percent), especially no cancellations or delays; non-stop flights and preferred seating

Sleep quality (68 percent) before and during the business trip

  • Twenty-five percent of road warriors are significantly or extremely affected by jet lag. This highly-affected group reports 20 percent fewer worthwhile trips, a 14 percent higher chance of leaving their jobs, and much less interest in traveling in two years compared to those less affected by jet lag.
  • Twenty-three percent of road warriors report high scores for anxiety or depression. When compared to road warriors with low to average anxiety and depression scores, this group has a two-year attrition risk twice as high (37 percent vs. 17 percent), reports nearly half as many worthwhile trips (39 percent vs. 75 percent) and has far less interest in traveling in two years.
  • Seventeen percent of road warriors are presently or nearly burned out from travel. The main causes are too many nights away from home, the general stress of travel and travel’s negative impact on their health and their families.


“Achieving Better Business Travel Results: Insights from U.S. Road Warriors,” is available for download online.



About ARC

An industry leader in air travel distribution and intelligence, ARC settled $88.5 billion in ticket transactions in 2017 between airlines and travel agencies, representing more than 287 million passenger trips. ARC provides flexible distribution solutions, innovative technology and access to the world’s most comprehensive air ticket transaction data, helping the global air travel community connect, grow and thrive. For more information, please visit


About Delta Air Lines

Delta Air Lines serves more than 180 million customers each year. In 2018, Delta was named to Fortune’s top 50 Most Admired Companies in addition to being named the most admired airline for the seventh time in eight years. Additionally, Delta has ranked No.1 in the Business Travel News Annual Airline survey for an unprecedented seven consecutive years. With an industry-leading global network, Delta and the Delta Connection carriers offer service to 304 destinations in 52 countries on six continents. Headquartered in Atlanta, Delta employs more than 80,000 employees worldwide and operates a mainline fleet of more than 800 aircraft. The airline is a founding member of the SkyTeam global alliance and participates in the industry’s leading transatlantic joint venture with Air France-KLM and Alitalia as well as a joint venture with Virgin Atlantic. Including its worldwide alliance partners, Delta offers customers more than 15,000 daily flights. Delta has invested billions of dollars in airport facilities, global products and services, and technology to enhance the customer experience in the air and on the ground. Additional information is available on the Delta News Hub, as well as, Twitter @DeltaNewsHub and URL:


About FlightGlobal

FlightGlobal has been a pioneer of aviation intelligence for over 100 years. We help businesses across the globe cut through industry complexity to reach their full potential. Our range of insight, data analytics and workflow solutions provide a complete view to help you drive growth and manage risk, powered by an unrivalled combination of award-winning experts and the most comprehensive aviation databases available. For more information, please visit


About tClara

tClara provides authoritative, innovative and affordable airfare and Trip Friction® benchmarks for travel managers who want to deliver the best business results for their travel budget. For more information, please visit Trip Friction® is a registered trademark of tClara, LLC.