How relevant is business travel in the age of technology?

Whenever ‘the future of business travel’ comes up in conversation, this is no doubt one of the most commonly asked questions. When people think of business travel the first thought that springs to mind typically, is a business person travelling across the country, or globe, to meet face-to-face with an associate. Something which, in this day and age, surely could be carried out much more efficiently via email or video conference? So where exactly does the future of business travel stand, when technology is here to make communication much more straightforward?

It might surprise you to hear that the next generation – or millennials as they’re most commonly referred to – are actually taking more business trips than previous generations. A study by Skift reveals “On average, business travellers took 6.8 trips in 2017, a number which is expected to increase to 7.4 the following year. Millennials took 7.4 business trips in the last year, compared to 6.4 for Gen Xers and 6.3 for baby boomers.”

It seems that business travel is showing no signs of slowing down, even with the incredibly tech-savvy younger generation, who have grown up communicating online via mobile devices or tablets. But what exactly are they travelling for?

Looking specifically at millennials, the most common reason for their business travel is – somewhat surprisingly – for meetings with associates from other companies. This is particularly interesting, with the rise in video conferences over Skype or Google Hangouts combined with a generation who communicate via FaceTime, Snapchat and Instagram Stories, it seems that the younger generation still sees the value in meeting associates face-to-face.

Attending conferences is the second most common reason for their travel, followed by for training courses and meeting with co-workers from other office locations. And these are fairly consistent across the different generations, including Generation X and Baby Boomers. In fact, as a whole, every single generation agreed that they were expecting to take more business trips in 2018 than they did in 2017.

There are many reasons why business travel is here to stay, and why despite technology making business a lot easier, there are still clear benefits to be gained from travelling.

Networking

You only get one chance to make a first impression, and sadly an online impression just isn’t quite the same as meeting someone face-to-face. If you really want to make an impact on a new business associate, then arranging a meeting is a far better way to grab their attention rather than an email or LinkedIn request. You also never know who you might meet on your way!

Closing a deal

When it’s time to seal the deal, face to face interaction is essential. Not only does it show your new client that you appreciate them by making time for them, but it also gives you the chance to win them over one final time – whether that’s over lunch or even a celebratory drink.

Inspiration

Sat behind the same desk from Monday to Friday for the best part of a year can easily see you fall into a rut, and when creativity is vital to your job role sometimes you need a change of scenery to help you think outside of the box and see things in a different way.

Learning

Any good employer knows that to keep your employees happy, and to encourage them to grow in their career, they need to keep learning. Sending an employee off to a training day or seminar can be enough to reinvigorate them and make them fall in love with their job role again.

Sourcing

Sometimes what you need to complete your project isn’t exactly close to hand. Travelling can be essential to track down the exact materials you need, whilst making the right connections for the future.

Whilst at first glance, it might have seemed that technology could be the death of business travel, the travel industry instead has actually embraced technology in every way imaginable. Instead, technology is inspiring the way we travel and improving many of the bugbears that business travellers of 20 or even 10 years ago would have suffered.

As you can see, there are many reasons why business travel is still relevant in the age of technology, and it seems to be showing absolutely no signs of slowing down. If you feel business travel is essential to your business and you’d like to discuss your corporate travel policy, find out more about the service we offer here. Feel free to get in touch with a member of our helpful team here.

By |October 1st, 2018|Blog|

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