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Business travel is part of how work gets done, and how we get our work done is changing rapidly. From rising global inflation to the increasingly loud calls for sustainability, as well as the surge in revenge travel following some relief from COVID, there are too many factors you must not ignore when reevaluating your organisation’s business travel strategy for the rest of 2022 and beyond. 

To beat inflation and reduce carbon emissions, many businesses are cutting down so much on trips. But is that the way forward? If you consider the fact that many studies and experts still claim the superiority of physical interactions over virtual communication, it is easy to understand why substituting business travel for Zoom meetings can be problematic. After all, we are having so many virtual meetings and it still seems as though hardly anything gets done

Why Travel Impactfully?

In this article, we argue that the better way forward is impactful business travel. An impactful travel approach ensures that every trip taken has a good purpose that aligns with the organisation’s overarching mission and objectives. 

1. It helps your company push through sustainability efforts

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As we continue to move toward a more sustainable future, corporations are starting to think about ways they can cut down on their environmental footprint. And a key part of building a sustainable culture is making sustainability part of everyday operations, including how we travel. 

As air travel is notorious for a vast amount of carbon emissions, business and HR leaders are looking towards alternative transport modes, such as rail travel as their contribution to building an eco-friendlier world. In addition, packing more meaningful objectives into each trip will reduce frivolous trips, which, in turn, cuts your company’s carbon emissions level. 

Already, the pandemic has forced many organisations to favour longer but fewer trips over shorter, more frequent ones. If you don’t already have this approach, you should integrate it into your policy as it ensures that corporate trips are more purposeful and there are more business objectives for employees to achieve on each trip. And you ensure all these while hitting your sustainability goals faster.

2. It’s proven to be more effective

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In a world where life happens online, it is easy to question the importance of physical meetings. Why travel several miles to close a deal when you could just hop on a 30-minute Zoom call? It’s easy to see why travelling seems like an unnecessary expense in today’s corporate world. 

However, statistics continue to show that physical interactions are more engaging than virtual ones. According to a survey of business travellers in the APAC region, 81% claimed that face-to-face meetings with clients are critical to business recovery. You wouldn’t dismiss a claim by such an overwhelming percentage of professionals, would you? 

In many ways, agreed, corporate travelling can be unnecessary. However, that should inspire organisations towards making trips more impactful, rather than jettisoning travelling in general. As long as face-to-face meetings still matter in the business world, engendering impactful travelling is something every company, especially SMEs in the growth phase, should pursue. 

3. It builds better business relationships

Business relationships are built on trust, respect and understanding. When you meet face to face with your clients or colleagues, you form a personal connection that cannot be matched by video conferencing or phone calls. 

People are more likely to trust you if they know who you are, what drives you and what kind of person you are in general. This helps build stronger relationships with clients and partners because they know that they can rely on you to make things happen when it matters most. That is the hallmark of impactful business travel

Certainly, not every decision must be reached over a formal meeting. Usually, the purpose of a meeting is more important than where the meeting itself is held. As a leader, you should steer your team towards impactful meetings that foster better engagement and decision-making between members of your team, especially those who travel to meet with clients and partners.

How You Can Start Implementing Impactful Business Travel

Sometimes, it is difficult to focus on the why of corporate travel when there are so many administrative details involved in arranging trips. Here’s a set of steps to start with:

1. Set a clear policy

2 TM automated policy
TruTrip’s smart policy allows you to integrate your company’s policy on the platform your employees use to book their travels

The first step toward ensuring impactful business travel is to set up a policy that determines when an employee must travel for work purposes as well as how such trips will be coordinated. 

You should begin by reviewing your company’s goals and objectives — what do you want your employees to accomplish on this trip, and on other trips? Once you have established what is important, then you can create guidelines around transport modes, bookings, and expense management. 

Such a policy will take into consideration the needs of various departments, the company’s travel budget, and ease of travel. Therefore, an effective corporate travel policy must be flexible and adaptable to various situations. Yet, even when a policy is set, one of the travel managers’ challenges is how to enforce compliance across the board. However, by automating the travel policy, you can save yourself hours of sorting through the administrative details of each trip. 

2. Plan travel and itineraries ahead

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This may seem obvious, but it’s often overlooked, especially as corporate travel bookings begin to soar towards pre-pandemic levels. Sorting out the details of your employees’ travel itineraries as early as possible allows you to investigate different options such as airfare prices, hotel discounts, etc.

If done correctly, this will allow you to save money while ensuring a comfortable stay for your employees during their travels. It also lowers the risks of disruptions such as missed flights and cancellations that may derail the purpose of the trip.

When planning a trip for employees, start by asking yourself what needs to happen before departure day. Is there any training required for those who will be travelling? What documents do you need to make sure they are prepared? What kind of approval do they need from their manager or supervisor before departing on travel? It’s important to plan well in advance so that every detail is covered before departure day arrives.

3. Consider fewer but longer travels

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One of the key changes to business travel that came with the pandemic was that employees started taking fewer trips, according to 37% of corporate travel professionals. However, more goals were attached to each trip to make up for lost travel time, which is then repurposed for other meaningful business activities. 

The world is increasingly getting busier and faster-paced, and the corporate landscape is more competitive than ever before. To reduce business travel costs, you have to cut the time wasted on unnecessary trips.

As much as possible, try to avoid short trips that require switching hotels often or multiple flights within a short period. These kinds of itineraries can be stressful for everyone involved and can lead to fatigue and poor decision-making during meetings and events. Instead, encourage longer trips with more meaningful objectives. Impactful business travel benefits your company by enabling employees to be more engaged in their work and have a better chance of delivering results.

Leave the travel management to us and focus on ensuring that every trip is impactful

TruTrip provides you with the latest travel management technology to help you optimise all administrative tasks, automate policy enforcement, and generate reports while you handle the strategic aspect of ensuring your employees’ trips are more impactful. By booking a demo, you get to experience how our product can help you enhance your company’s corporate travel.

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