The tremendous growth of the business travel industry in the past years is expected to continue in the 2020s. Projected to reach a value of 1.5 billion euros by 2023, corporate travelling is the industry to watch. Without a doubt, business travel is increasing, and the embracing of new technologies will only encourage it.
Here are the top 6 reasons why business travel will keep booming:
1. Doing business is all about trust
There is nothing like establishing and developing a network on your own. Technically, digital solutions can enable you to find individuals and companies involved in your industry worldwide. Local brokers might even help you connect with their professional entourage, after exchanging a few messages or emails. But in the end, expanding your network will never be as effective and safe as it is when you travel and meet people for real.
The thing is, in the eye of the locals, seeing a foreign potential business partner coming to their country is a sign of seriousness, commitment, and success. As a businessman, you travel to a destination when you believe in it. It means you trust that there will be some return on investment, at one point or another, and this is the most powerful message you can send to those who welcome you.
2. Real-life meetings enhance understandings
Knowing your potential partners is not just about meeting and trusting them: it is also very much about understanding them. A decisive factor when you are visiting a place for the first time is your awareness of that environment. Besides all the practicalities business travelers need to learn about new destinations, no one can do business at an international level without getting answers to some questions.
At the macro-economic level, one must be aware of the political structure of the country, the way public institutions and private entities are being run, whether the government regulates a free market or a centrally planned economy, and so on. At the operational level, you have to comprehend your partners, get to know their business mindset, what they perceive as a success, what importance they give to personal relationships, etc.
3. Daring to conquer uncharted lands pays off
Foreign executives showing an interest in doing business in unchartered lands are often welcomed like a head of state and offered access to high-ranking businessmen and officials. Be aware – this premium treatment will never happen online. Moreover, when you are wined and dined by the right locals, you can end up meeting dozens of relevant professionals a day. Also, with a bit of experience, you will be able to choose more efficiently those you want to work with and identify the undesirables you would rather leave aside. This on-site screening process is impossible to conduct from your office.
4. Human contact outpaces technology
High tech digital solutions enable us to cross the meridians and start talking to like-minded professionals. Nevertheless, face-to-face discussions and the time spent with people on-site are the best ways to get to know your contacts thoughtfully, but also to maintain and improve the relationship with them. Indeed, while reading an email or a text message, it is impossible to grasp the feelings of the sender. Regardless of the increasing usage of emoticons, the reader will keep wondering if they genuinely represent the sender’s mood. After all, we are all more likely to open-up while sipping a glass of wine than during a video conference or a phone call. So, why not enjoy the opportunity of a pleasant journey from time to time?
5. Business, pleasure, or bleisure?
Speaking of a pleasant journey, let’s not fool ourselves: business trips are not just about work but also pleasures. While some will prolong their business trips to explore the must-sees of the city and the surroundings, others will want to discover the nightlife, enjoy local gastronomy or just relax in a spa. Whether you wish to enjoy your time alone or in a good company, taking advantage of a business trip to resource yourself is the key to a healthy professional life. Business people know it, and that’s why they have no intention to ground themselves and miss any opportunity to enjoy a bleasure travel.
6. Virtual is free, but face-to-face is cheaper
When it comes to business travels, they should be seen more as an investment than a cost. If you focus on building virtual relations with people you never met, the chances are high that your online networking will eventually turn out to be a waste of time and money. But a business trip at the right moment to meet the right individuals will always be a fundamental step to success. For all these six reasons and many more, it is a no-brainer that the corporate travel industry will keep booming. Embracing new technologies to deliver the best travel experiences is a must, but not a substitute for real meetings.