Business travel is any journey that is taken specifically for work purposes. This can incorporate any form of transportation and travel duration, as long as it is not for leisure purposes or as part of your daily commute. From a short drive across town to a flight halfway across the world, if you’re taking a trip on behalf of your company, it’s business travel.
What are the main reasons for business travel?
There are many reasons why an organisation would choose business travel. By making an effort to send employees to events, businesses can gain knowledge, strengthen relationships and secure new business. From small check-ins to following big sales leads, more often than not, business travel provides an outcome that is worth the investment.
Some of the main reasons for business travel include:
Securing a deal — First impressions are always better in person, so when you’re meeting another organisation (particularly when pitching for their business), making the journey to their base of operations shows that you’re serious about forming a beneficial relationship with them.
Networking — You may not have a new lead to follow right now, but by travelling to networking events relevant to your industry, you’re likely to meet individuals who may be worth keeping in touch with for future opportunities.
Attending meetings and events — Living in a digital age, video conferencing has become the norm for many businesses. However, certain events are more productive and more practical in person, such as training seminars.
Visiting branch locations — If you’re part of a large organisation, your business may have several places of operation. This means that branch visits will be necessary to check that locations are running smoothly and safely.
Giving a personal touch — Sometimes, business travel can be as simple as showing your face. It’s an excellent way to keep your ear to the ground and keep an eye on employee morale.
Why is business travel important?
It’s true that you can source business leads online without ever needing to leave the office, but doing so could throw away untold opportunities. It’s much easier to strike up conversations with people in person than via email, helping to build more natural first impressions. By taking your business on the road to an event, you could leave with a contact list that is filled with people you didn’t even know existed.
Putting a face to a name
It’s no secret that people like interacting with other people more than they do with a faceless organisation. If a meeting is essential, conducting it in person can help you connect on a human level and increase your chances of converting prospects into new clients. Even if you have already secured someone’s business, meeting them in person will help to cultivate your relationship by allowing them to interact with you rather than your name in their inbox.
Digital communication is convenient, but much of what we say can get lost in translation without the nuances of face-to-face interactions. Words on a screen can be misinterpreted, which can lead to errors or damaged relationships. Travelling for an important meeting can ensure that both parties stay on the same page.
The ability to lead and inspire is a crucial element in the success of many businesses. By taking the key stakeholders in your company to an in-person meeting with a client, you can reassure them — and the client — that you are invested in the mutual success of your partnership and that you can confidently inspire those around you.
How to manage business travel
Business travel can offer a range of benefits to an organisation, but it’s not as simple as just getting up and heading out the door. Many business trips will be far from home or span several days, meaning that some pre-planning organisation is required to keep you and your employees punctual and safe during your journey.
First things first, how are you going to get to your event? If you are transporting multiple employees to an event, you’ll need to plan what the most efficient way to get there is based on many factors, including:
The number of passengers
While it might be cheaper for the business to ask everyone to drive their own cars to an event, renting a minibus ensures that everyone arrives at the right location, at the right time, and minimises the risk of unforeseen circumstances like an accident. While it often makes sense to travel as a group, each journey is a balancing act between the above factors to find a travel solution that’s right for you.
If you’re travelling far or are attending a multi-day event, you’ll need to consider accommodation. Whether you choose to stay in a hotel or rent an apartment, you’ll want to make sure that the location is easy to reach, close to your destination and is the right size to accommodate your team suitably.
Saving money on a cheap hotel is a smart way to reduce costs, but your employees won’t thank you if they don’t have their own bed and have to skip breakfast to get to the event on time.
Simply put, business travel costs money. You’re asking employees to travel away from home on behalf of the business, so you need to cover the costs for them. Travel and accommodation are the big ones when it comes to your spending, but you’ll also need to think of more minor things like reimbursing your staff for their meals, an entertainment budget for your team’s off time, and any money you need to set aside if you plan on schmoozing a client.
You need to strike the right balance when setting the budget, as you need to keep your employees happy and motivated, but you need to keep costs low enough that it’s still worth the investment from a business and financial perspective.
You can plan every detail for the perfect trip, but you also need to prepare for if the worst should happen. If your transport breaks down or your accommodation becomes unavailable at the last minute, you’ll need to be able to act fast to secure a replacement. You have a duty of care to all your employees, which means you need to ensure they can all safely reach suitable accommodation, even in a disaster scenario.
Hire a business travel expert
As planning business trips that are safe, cost-effective and beneficial to the company can be complex and time-consuming, many organisations choose to outsource their business travel needs to an external company that will take care of all the logistics for them.
At CMAC, we provide unbeatable corporate travel services to get businesses to and from wherever they need to go. Our list of tried and tested suppliers ensures that we can procure the right vehicles to suit your specific needs. Plus, our hotel and accommodation solutions provide on-demand and planned hotels for companies across the globe.
To learn more about our full range of award-winning business travel and ground transportation solutions, get in touch with our customer service team, who are happy to hear your queries 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.