Why business travel is an indicator of growth in 2020

Scalability; it might just be the most important part of your business, whatever the size or nature of your industry. But as we know, to grow your company, you need to invest in it to flourish. This starts with your workforce.

Accounting for roughly 10 per cent of all business spend in the UK (30 per cent in USA), corporate travel is an important part of the day-to-day running of your company. Not only can it help nurture relationships, but it can also expand learning, promote investment and attract new business – all important for your bottom line.

Over the years, corporate travel has established itself as a valuable asset. It’s also a market that continues to grow at a pace, forecast to reach $1.7 trillion in spend by 2022.

Let’s take a further look at the importance of corporate travel and its impact on business growth.

The Biggest Spenders

It’s certainly no coincidence that the top five countries with the greatest wealth, are also those with the highest business travel spend. These are:

  •   USA
  •   China
  •   Japan
  •   Germany
  •   United Kingdom

The relationship between profitability and being able to compete on an international level for business is quite clear.

However, the figures also reveal that company travel spend is down by 0.7 per cent in the UK, despite growing in most other markets. Even so, UK corporates spent over $50 billion in 2017, according to official intel.

Slashed travel budgets are a common theme; with the uncertainty of Brexit, the ever-volatile political landscape and concerns around our eco-footprint coming to the fore. Nonetheless, in times of austerity, business investment remains even more significant for growth.

Helps Close a Deal

As the saying goes, deals are made on the golf course. There’s some science to that, knowing that personal relationships help to nurture business growth. Possibly one of the biggest benefits of business travel is the opportunity for direct interaction with clients. Time and again, research has shown that there’s no substitute for face-to-face contact.

A study reported in the Harvard Business Review, found that face-to-face requests are 34 times more successful than an email.

Companies that have remote workers, or far-flung clients will already know that personal interaction yields far better results than sitting behind a laptop.

Builds a Happy Workplace

With a number of businesses based in the city, a common complaint from remote or regional workers, is the lack of interaction with senior management. More than just a HR issue, a happy workforce is good for business. It means that turnover is lower and productivity is higher, allowing you to focus on scaling up.

Corporate travel promotes a better understanding of working issues, seeing first handsome of the daily challenges co-workers encounter. It also allows management to personally show gratitude to other team members - an essential ingredient in cultivating a motivated workforce.

Whether being on a construction site, or facing consumers on the front line. Business travel bridges the gap, by bringing teams together. Studies show that workplace relationships are beneficial in many ways, especially helping to “significantly increase” overall performance, trust, and decrease workplace stress.

Brings in Business

Attracting new business is the cornerstone of business growth. But without business travel, the opportunity to visit new markets and meet with potential clients is lost.

As such, a whopping 98 per cent of employees believe that face-to-face contact is vital in building relationships with a prospective customer. While 86 per cent agreed that increasing the amount of business trips to meet potential clients would allow them to do their job “significantly better”.

Networking and Training

Another way of generating new business leads, as well as managing brand reputation, is through networking. From industry events to conferences, panels to awards ceremonies – these all play their part in driving business growth. And key to this is of course business travel.

An economics study by Oxford found that more than half of business travellers attending trade shows acquire five to 20 per cent of new business by participating.

It Impacts Profit

And finally, should you need any further convincing on the importance of corporate travel, it has been shown to increase profit margins.

A study by Oxford Economics USA, revealed that for every dollar spent on business travel, companies benefit $12.50 in incremental revenue as a result. And if companies were to abolish work travel they would lose 17 per cent of their profits in doing so.

Take Out

When it comes to growing a business, corporate travel plays a crucial role.

Even in this digitalised era, the need for personal interaction and contact with co-workers and management remains just as important, maybe even more so, than ever.

Helping to close deals, build and nurture relationships and empower a workforce, business travel is the essential ingredient in taking any business to the next level.

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