What Is Business Travel?
Business travel is a journey specifically taken for work purposes and doesn’t include daily commutes, leisure trips or holidays.
According to the WTO (World Trade Organisation) around 30 per cent of international trips these days are for business – and business travel shows no sign of slowing down. Even in this world of instant communication and social media, business travel is as necessary and advantageous as ever.
What are the main reasons for business travel?
- Networking. A handshake followed by a face-to-face chat is still the best way to meet and get to know someone – much better than Skype calls or reading dozens of emails and text messages. You may also want to personally show your leadership skills.
- Examples & samples. You may need to take examples or samples of your work or see examples or samples of something you’re considering investing in. Explaining something – such as a product or service you offer – while with someone and actually seeing they understand is much better than any other way.
- Be personal. You want to meet suppliers, customers or clients to take them for drinks and a meal and personally give them a gift as a way of showing your gratitude. You want to show them that they are worth the time that it takes to make a personal visit.
- Check conditions. You prefer to visit suppliers to see everything looks fine. For example, someone having T-shirts made wants to see the conditions for workers are good. Or you are supplied food products and want to see where it grows and the facilities where it’s produced and packaged. These conditions can never be properly assessed through a flat screen.
- Location location location. Your company may have offices in various locations and it’s helpful to visit so you know the environment. Or you may need to inspect something for work purposes, such as a plot of land you’re interested in.
- Attending meetings and events. You need to attend a meeting, lecture, exhibition or show that’s relevant to your business.
- Search the world. You want to look for or confirm new products are right for your business. You want to meet potential new suppliers or employees.
- Doing a deal. Business advisers Oxford Economics discovered through research that potential customers are nearly twice as likely to sign with you if you have a face-to-face meeting. So it’s definitely worth making that trip to see them.
- Incentives. These trips are to motivate employees, and involve such as going on team-building weekends – which although might involve a leisure event are essentially for business purposes.
Business travel in some form has been undertaken since the time people started trading with each other. In fact, many of today’s roads started as thoroughfares for people taking such as livestock or their wares to a weekly market.
In the 1800s, the advent of trains further increased business travel. Then it started literally taking off in the 1960s with the arrival of reasonably priced and plentiful flights.
So we should remember that today’s business travellers are in a line from the innovators of centuries gone by – and without them, we might never have tasted such delights as tea, coffee and even chocolate.