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If the past few years have taught us anything, it’s that there’s no compensation for face-to-face contact and being on location in person. Whether it’s for an event, for a meeting, or for a new construction project, traveling forms part of the day-to-day for many in the UK workforce.  

Although it is mainly used for support and professional reasons (30%), a Bloomberg report found that business travel is also used for sales and securing clients (25)%, conferences and trade shoes (20%) and training and meetings (20%). 

Whether you’re planning a business trip, or invited to a work event, it’s good to know the difference between business travel and workforce travel, and the purposes they serve. Let’s take a look at what distinguishes these forms of travel, and what to look out for. 

What is workforce travel? 

Those who work in industry-led markets, such as construction, transportation, engineering, events, and retail, often have a large and disparate workforce. Rather than being predominantly office based, these teams may have to travel frequently to various locations around the UK, or occasionally abroad. 

These work away jobs typically use ‘workforce travel’ for commuting. We say commuting, but on the whole these trips tend to be on location for periods of time, often in large groups, to accommodate short and long-term projects that require a team to bring it together. 


Requirements of workforce travel 

Perhaps what distinguishes workforce travel best, is the specific requirements of the employees engaging in it. Since they will be traveling away from home for weeks at a time, and often in groups, they will require home comforts on location. For travel managers, this means ensuring they are located close to their place of work, as well as gyms, restaurants, shops and local transport links in the area.  

It also means that there’s consideration towards working longer hours, being away from friends and family, and offering flexible bookings for transport and accommodation to fit in with their ever-changing schedules. 

Working on the road can be a costly expense for businesses too. For this reason, there are many benefits in using an online travel platform, to support individuals making bookings, and for finding the best rates in some of the best 3 and 4 star hotels in the area. 


Defining business travel 

In contrast, business travel is a slightly different beast. It typically involves an individual who needs to travel for a meeting or event, usually visiting an office or location. As such, their trip is much shorter than workforce travel, as it’s often for a specific reason. Business travel is often used for meeting wider teams, attending annual business events, or corporate get-togethers.  


Requirements of business travel 

Unlike workforce travel, where the travel manager needs to consider the wider needs of the group on a longer-term basis, business travellers have the luxury of far greater freedoms. Budgets may be more flexible, since their trip is shorter and less frequent, and might also include the need for entertaining staff and being in a central location.  

With the advent of ‘bleisure travel’ (adding a leisure trip on to a business trip), it’s possible that this is something that the employee may want to consider, as well as gaining loyalty points with providers. 

Of course, far from being a necessity for work, business travel is also widely viewed as a perk – especially for younger colleagues. A survey, found that 90% of employees find business travel enjoyable, and want it to continue throughout the course of their career. 


In summary 

There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to work travel. However knowing and understanding your workforce will help you make the best decisions for booking their travel arrangements. Whereas workforce travel may require extensive planning for a large volume of remote workers to be on location for a period of time, business travel may be less onerous. However, when you consider group needs versus individual needs, there’s one thing that binds them both - and that’s the ability to make and change bookings easily and quickly.  


Roomex is a leading online travel platform used by a small and large business to help with their business travel needs. Find out more at 

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Sophia Walker
Post by Sophia Walker
October 5, 2022
Sophia Walker is a freelance content writer with a passion for travel, wellbeing and storytelling. With over 15 years’ experience in the industry, her work has been published extensively in print and online. This includes The Huffington Post and various corporate websites and blogs. Sophia is often found in far-flung destinations, when not in her native home of London.

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