For years, business travel came to a grinding halt due to the COVID-19 pandemic. All meetings were taken online with nobody able to see each other face-to-face due to fears of the virus spreading. This had the benefits that you could arrange a meeting in the morning and have it straight away. You didn’t have to hop on a train or in a car and you could meet up with other companies and colleagues in different parts of the country or even different parts of the world.
Now, travel in the US is fully open again and people journeying for business can do so with ease. Bringing back the personal aspect of the business meeting. However, has the nature of business travel changed since the pandemic?
In the article below, we’ll discuss if business travel looks different in 2023 and if any changes are likely to occur in the future.
Changes to business travel in different places
Obviously one of the key issues with business travel in the US is the sheer size of the country. Companies can have many different offices in states hundreds of miles apart. A waste of time and resource can be driving between them. Thankfully however there are plenty of different options for travel in the United states, that aren’t just driving yourself around and spending a fortune on gas.
If there are a few people from your organisation that are looking to get across the company then chartering a private jet could be a good route to look into. There are lots of different options available and all of these make a fabulous first impression if you’re looking to make a sale. If businesses do need to travel this way, there are plenty of airports for private jet rentals to touchdown in.
The United Kingdom is, in comparison, considerably smaller than the US, therefore some of the travel constraints are not the same. However it can still take several hours to drive from your offices to a different location. For this reason it could be beneficial to your business and your resources to mix and match between in person meetings and online ones.
If it’s your first meeting with a potential sale, then it could help to alleviate strain to have an online meeting first in order to scope out whether or not you’re actually likely to work together.
Alternatively, it can be an option to renovate your current business fleet. Here are so many more options now for alternatively fuelled cars. If you’re companies focus is on sustainability and being eco friendly, then ensuring that your fleet is also following this will really help the impact of this message.
Although common for business travel bookings, Spain is often more popular for corporate getaways which have seen an even bigger rise post-pandemic. One of the key changes to these getaways is that they’re more eco-friendly than ever. This is because the companies booking the getaways for their staff are now asking for electric or hybrid modes of transport to reduce their carbon footprint.
Booking a corporate get away for your business can have many benefits for your employees and therefore for their productivity and efficiency. When employees have the chance to leave their normal routine at work, they will usually come back feeling refreshed and able to take on a new challenge.
Stepping outside of their comfort zone can also help business to develop new ideas and strategies. It will encourage people into teamwork and communication is likely to flow more freely. Therefore they are more likely to work effectively together and keep employee retention high.
India faced a huge challenge when the pandemic hit but still managed to get a fair amount of business bookings. Now that everything has returned to normal, however, business travel now faces a new threat with the roads being super busy at all times. This makes getting from one place to another slightly more difficult and takes more time.
One thing to be careful of if traveling to India for business is to be sure you have all the correct paperwork beforehand. Arriving punctually and with all the correct documents and knowledge of the area will show to your potential business partners that as an organisation you are professional and can be trusted. This can be a make-or-break part of the deal. Things you’ve prepared beforehand should include Visas, the local currency and an in depth knowledge of business customs and etiquette.
Business dress is conservative for both men and women. The usual greeting is with a handshake between men, would need to wait for a woman to extend her hand as she may say ‘Namaste‘ as a greeting without a handshake. Business cards are exchanged after the initial introductions. Punctuality is important for meetings however the hosts may be a bit late. There is preference given to people and firms that are trusted and having an established business relationship, this can take some time to build.
Is travel still important or a business to succeed?
Face-to-face business meetings will always help to conclude deals. However, with roughly 90 million U.S. citizens being able to work remotely at least some of the time, it shows that businesses can function without having to travel.
The best way to navigate this situation is to ask the client you’re wanting to do business with what they would like to do. If you can then facilitate a meeting this way, then you’ll build a better rapport with them.
What does the future hold?
Some of the changes we may see in the future of business travel include:
- Better communication from travel companies
- Touchless experiences for safer travel
- Changes to priorities when booking flights e.g. health and safety
- People will only travel when it’s absolutely necessary