The Business Traveler’s Hierarchy of Needs

Cast your mind back to Psychology 101… remember something called Maslow’s hierarchy of needs? If you hang out on LinkedIn long enough you’ll probably see it crop up again in your newsfeed. It basically details, from the bottom up, exactly what human beings need to live happy, fulfilled lives. At the very bottom is shelter; and at the pinnacle is self-actualization: the ability to find our place and purpose in life.

Now, suppose we temporarily transpose these needs to business travel (it’s not that much of a stretch…). The reason for doing so is because, when venturing out for your company, there’s often a disconnect between what’s offered (usually dictated by budget) and what you need to get the job done.

But how can you prioritize these needs accordingly? Here are a few thoughts:

Maslow defines basic needs as the things we require to function: food, water, warmth, rest, safety. For business travelers, we’ll label these as transportation, accommodation, sustenance, and yes, Wi-Fi (!). As long as you appreciate that these things are the bare minimum — rather than the only things that you should have access to — you can’t go too wrong.

To do your job effectively, you need to feel like you’re able to relate to those you’re doing business with; that you’re a peer or respected partner. You need to be able to build relationships (not necessarily intimate ones, as per Maslow’s suggestions…), and believe that you’re trusted to do what you’re employed to do. Anything that empowers you to do your job in the most efficient way possible — be it a ‘status symbol’ like a company credit card or access to the company Uber account — is positive reinforcement and shouldn’t be ignored.

Let’s categorize self-fulfilment for business travelers as ‘rewards for doing a good job’. This goes beyond financial incentives; it’s about having access to things that you wouldn’t normally have — frequent traveler miles, a seaside view, an on-site gym, a spa room, even time to explore the city you’re visiting. These are the kinds of things that transcend professional life; an opportunity to enjoy success on a personal level.

All of these needs are totally acceptable — but there are times when businesses that want to batten down the financial hatches might encourage you to compromise on some things. Once you understand your needs as a traveler, you can plan to meet them in the best way possible — given the resources available to your business. Here at Arbitrip we aim to play our part by helping you maximize your accommodation budget; finding and booking the rooms that best meet all of your needs.

In business, as in life, certain occasions allow certain perks. While the flexibility of your company’s travel policy will dictate how much you have to spend on things like transport, accommodation, and meals; understanding the essentials will ultimately inform what you can’t function without, what you need to present yourself and your business in the best light, and what you should be allowed to enjoy.

You’ve earned it, after all.


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