Don’t Stress, Travel By Coach – It’s Official
Passengers’ Pulse Rates Monitored To Test Four Modes of Transport
In what is believed to be the first experiment of its type in the UK, Leger Holidays, in conjunction with leading travel trade publication TTG, has used digital monitors to test passengers travelling on four modes of transport to find out which offers the most and least stress-free travel.
Leger, which itself offers holidays by four modes of transport – air, coach, rail and self-drive – wanted to find out the travelling stress trigger points in its holidays with the objective of ironing them out to make the holiday journey as easy as possible.
Participants in the experiment, four female travel agents and their families, used digital blood pressure monitors to record their pulse rates in a diary every 30 minutes while travelling to Disneyland Resort Paris from the UK.
As ‘stress’ can be difficult to convey or measure from one person to another, Leger used digital blood pressure monitors to record pulse rates. It is known that pulse rates rise when we exercise, but importantly they also rise when we are stressed or anxious.
Findings show that, comparing the initial pre-journey reading, and then looking at each subsequent 30-minute reading, the mode of transport which showed the pulse rate decreasing most consistently hour-by-hour was coach. The indication being that the coach passenger was becoming more relaxed and less stressed than the other three passengers.
Bottom of the list – seemingly the most stressed – was the travel agent travelling by Eurostar; her readings showed a greater consistency of increasing pulse rate readings as her journey from the UK to France unfolded.
The second most stressed passenger, was the agent travelling by air, leaving the self-drive passenger runner-up to coaching as the least stressed participant.
Huw Williams, Marketing Director at Leger Holidays, said: “A holiday should be an enjoyable experience from the moment you leave home to arriving back, and of course everything in between.
“Part of our plan in starting this experiment was to isolate some of the trigger points which cause stress, and then try to eliminate them from our passengers’ journeys.
“We appreciate that to make this absolutely scientific, we need to add in more factors, such as testing a much larger sample size over more holiday experiences. However, what this does for us is provide a good indication of some of the more general factors.
“For example, the results indicate that for the participant travelling by coach the most stressful point was just prior to the journey – perhaps finding travel documents and waiting for the coach to arrive – but once on-board the traveller became consistently more relaxed.
“What we need to do now is look into other passengers to see if this unperceived but measured stress point at the start of the journey is common and see how we might remove some of that pre-journey. For example, we may look into trial a text messaging service to update passengers on the coach’s arrival at their pick up point.
“For the self-drive participant, the most stressful points were packing the car and adjusting the headlight reflectors in France – simple pre-advance advice about preparation might be all that’s needed here.
“For the Eurostar participant, pulse seemed to rise during the queue to get onto the train and then during the mid-part of the journey itself – perhaps going through the tunnel was an anxious moment for this particular agent.
“The air passenger’s pulse rate rose during a flight delay and again transferring to the hotel shuttle bus – unfortunately delays can affect all kinds of transport, but perhaps there is something we can look into for transfers.
“At Leger we are constantly looking for ways to make it even easier for our customers to experience the best of Europe in the most comfortable and enjoyable way, and this experiment is just one of the ways in which we are working to achieve this.
“It has been a valuable exercise and now we must look to see what changes we can bring to benefit our customers.”
Lucy Huxley, editor of TTG which was involved in sourcing the travel agents and backed the experiment, said: “This was a fun and innovative way to look into how different modes of transport can affect our holiday experience. This research provides a good base for Leger to identifying how to take the stress out of their holidaymakers’ travel experience.
“Anything that we can do as an industry to make holidays more enjoyable and relaxed is to be applauded and it was great to have travel industry professionals involved in this.”
For a little extra fun, the agents involved also took pulse rate on rides at Disneyland Resort Paris – readings here were in general higher both before, during and after the rides, than those taken on the journey to Disneyland Resort Paris.
In fact, unsurprisingly, the faster and more exciting the ride the higher the pulse rates reached. Pulse readings taken before and during the rides cause the greatest increase in pulse rate, perhaps due to anticipation and adrenaline.
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