What stories tell us about helping travellers think, choose and feel better

There is much talk about traveller wellbeing, but what should you expect from your travel management company? As the only TMC with both a Behavioural Psychologist and Head of Traveller Experience, we have a unique approach to wellbeing and travel.

There is much talk about traveller wellbeing, but what should you expect from your travel management company? How can you get beyond ubiquitous ‘Top 3 Tips’ lists to really use the scientific understanding wellbeing for the benefit of your travellers?

As the only travel management company with both a Behavioural Psychologist and Head of Traveller Experience, we have the unique perspective of approaching wellbeing and travel differently to others in the market.

At the Beyond Duty of Care conference Jonti Dalal-Small, Head of Behavioural Science at Capita Travel and Events, shared his organisation’s fresh thinking and exciting applied psychological approach to boosting wellbeing within business travel programmes.

Starting with the centrality of storytelling to human experience, Jonti described how our brains continually create narrative and search for meaning. Behind every business trip – or every time we ask someone to travel – there is a human experience and story. The same trip can, for example, be experienced in very different ways by a novice or an experienced traveller. Capita’s research has identified over 100 different traveller anxieties.

Capita use such insights to help organisations think about travellers' experiences and motivators of change for the better. Jonti drew an analogy between what makes a successful story and what makes a truly successful travel programme, with travellers’ wellbeing at its heart. Looking at the archetypal hero quest in films (such as Star Wars) and the need for real characters as an analogy in business travel of how, if we focus exclusively on structure, policy and compliance (i.e. the plot), we miss the personal touch. The result, he said, feels “cold, corporate and cooked-up by a committee”.

“As we experience the world, we are telling stories all the time and searching for coherence. We can use this to think about the travellers’ experience in different ways, as there is a story behind every business trip,” explained Jonti. “We can bring insights together and apply it to travel programmes to help people help themselves.”

The key challenge, Jonti said, is to be able to apply what we know about wellbeing and use our unique position as a travel management company and expertise in psychology and mental health to help travellers in the most impactful and meaningful ways for them. To do this, Jonti introduced how Capita have adapted the rigorous findings from the ‘five ways to wellbeing’ for business travel. This identifies the critical steps people can take including being active, enhancing social relationships and giving to others.

“Wellbeing is not straightforward, it means different things to different people. Personalisation is key. One person’s idea of being active is hitting the gym, another’s might be an evening walk in a new city. This is why we created our interactive slider, to understand what matters to our customers’ travellers. By tailoring our offering and working with suppliers, we continue to make the ‘trip environment’ as supportive to wellbeing as possible,” Jonti continued.

“In business travel, we can’t and shouldn’t just focus on getting people there and back – hopefully in one piece. We want more happy endings in business travel and, only by understanding how people create meaning and the subjective nature of wellbeing, can we truly provide duty of care to travellers,” said Jonti.

Beyond Duty of Care is a one-day event at The Royal Society, London, hosting over 100 delegates in risk, HR and procurement positions with a focus on traveller wellbeing. There were numerous seminars with different perspectives for delegates to gain valuable insight into the latest research and best practice.

Our Smarter working approach provides companies with a unique blend of in-house specialists to help them realise the importance of their travellers’ health, wellbeing and safety. Get in touch with our team today to understand how Smarter working can help you in ensuring duty of care to your employees. Why not read some our latest white paper on how we are encouraging businesses to change the mindset.