Oxytocin. It’s a hell of a drug. Well actually, it’s a hormone that acts as a neurotransmitter but it’s certainly addictive. Our brains release oxytocin when we get a ‘like’ on social media. It enables us to feel empathy for others. It plays a critical role in birth.
Basically, oxytocin is integral to connection and creation.
Called ‘the bonding hormone,’ it’s present where stress is not. We release oxytocin when we’re laughing, hugging, walking in nature, and deep breathing. So far, so ashram. But take steps to encourage the release of the hormone – along with cousins dopamine and serotonin – in your travelers, and you’ll be rewarded with motivated and productive travelers.
Even if you’re staunchly anti-woo-woo and ‘group hugs’ isn’t one of your KPIs, happy and connected travelers ultimately lead to productivity and revenue. Here are three ways to spread the love this Valentine’s Day.
1. Get travelers out of their brains and into their bodies
There’s a reason that we have our best ideas while riding a bike or kayaking (unless it’s your first time kayaking).
Research shows that 90% of our thoughts happen in our subconscious mind and 10% in the conscious mind. Light-bulb moments happen when we're physically stimulated, not sitting in a strip-lit office.
“Stress inevitably accompanies travel, and there are many ways travelers seek to combat this stress,” says Peggy Studer, Vice President Marketing at RoomIt, “among the most desired stress-relieving activities identified by business travelers are work-out classes. Many companies do not allow these activities to be expensed, but expanding travel expense rules to incorporate some of these things may be the best way to improve traveler satisfaction.”
2. Expand their horizons
Somewhere between a powerpoint presentation and a Tibetan sound-bowl session lies the sweet spot of a transformative meeting.
Begin a team meeting or event by encouraging participants to visualize the outcome of what they want to achieve.
What most wellness workshops and retreats have in common is audience participation. Leaders start with an exercise to explore deeper connections. Think fewer spreadsheets, more expansive exercises. This equals more oxytocin.
3. Data with destiny
Niklas Andreen, Chief Travel Experience Officer at CWT recommends using traveler data to look beyond cost, “We’ve been talking about the traveler experience for a long time,” he says, “ but we haven’t truly been able to measure it using data.
Now, technology is at a point where data can be used to make a well-rounded business case: To show how the travel program can drive the culture of who we want to be as a business, drive savings, and achieve a return on investment (ROI).”