6 Top Reasons People Travel for Business in a Digital World

In an increasingly digital world where we can connect anywhere in the world, anytime we want – why do people still travel for business? We have digital tools for everything these days. We can run a meeting on Zoom, play a team-building game with our colleagues on Kahoo, brainstorm together using Miro, plan a project in Asana, and edit the same document in Google Docs at the same time… So, what? The point?

In short, human interaction in real life.

The global pandemic has brought to light that work models must evolve over time. People realized they wanted more flexibility and weren’t afraid to ask for it — look at the response Apple employees got to their office-to-office mandate. With 70% of companies worldwide choosing to go hybrid and give their employees the best of both worlds, it’s clear that the way we do business is changing.

Job seekers all over the world are changing their priorities when it comes to their ideal job scenario. They want to have their cake and eat it too – from where, whenever combining the ability to work with their colleagues face-to-face, it adds value to their work experience.

  • 90% of job seekers see hybrid work as a key factor in their decision making
  • 60% of our own TravelPerk employees want to return to the office at least once a week, citing lack of social interaction and feeling disconnected from our company culture as their main pain points when working remotely.
  • 79% of knowledge workers look forward to going back to in-person meetings and events for the opportunity to meet other colleagues and build meaningful real-life relationships.

How business travel is mixed

A simple question as to yourself – what was the purpose of the business trip always? To bring people together for face-to-face meetings. It’s that simple. And that hasn’t changed from the pre-pandemic to the post-pandemic world. The business travel industry has always existed to integrate people into their real lives, and that’s exactly what it’s going to do going forward.

Only now, it’s going to be a little different. Historically when we think of domestic or international business travel, images of people in suits with briefcases pass through airports. People used to travel mostly to close deals, make sales, solidify partnerships and build business relationships with clients… and while they will still be in effect, a new dimension of business travel is now on the rise.

As teams become increasingly distributed, business travel will become a critical requirement for bringing together colleagues and teams to meet in person. With team members living in different parts of the world, or moving from cities to more rural settings, bringing them together for purpose-driven experiences will be key to the future of work.

So, what new types of “business travel” will we see in the future of work?

Chances are you and your teams are starting to use video conferencing for team get-togethers, networking opportunities and large-scale industry events. So, beyond traveling to make a sale or close a deal, what kind of business travel can you expect going forward?

Team-building events

Often hailed as a fun perk for employees, team-building events are becoming more and more important in our distributed world. Organizations are starting to host more regular events to bring teams together and build trust, camaraderie, and spirit to ultimately drive productivity and engagement. Distributed teams can meet 1-3 times a year for these valuable opportunities for face-to-face communication.

Read more about team-building events:

Company or team retreat

Like team-building events, though, company or team retreats take the personal experience a step further. They are often longer, lasting 2-3 days, and include things like workshops, seminars, presentations, and case studies, among other activities. These are great opportunities for teams to get to know each other better, set strategic visions, align on goals, and more. These are definitely not things you should do on Skype!

Read more about company and team events:

Team offsite or on-site

Depending on your work model, you may want to organize a team offsite on site. Offsite usually involves taking the team somewhere outside the office for a day where they can get their creative juices flowing, enjoy some social activities together and share a special day. On-site, on the other hand, tends to be more for remote or distributed teams that need to get together in an office for a day or so and do some collaborative work. Chances are, at least some of your employees will need to book a business trip to be able to participate!

Read more about Team Offsite or On-site:

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Annual kick-off

January can be a fairly dreary month after the mid-winter holidays… but not if you’re planning a fun kick-off! The annual kick-off is a fantastic way to motivate staff and make sure everyone knows what to expect for the coming year. If you’ve got team members living in different cities, counties or even countries, including a small portion of your annual business travel budget, the cost of taking people out for a kick-off must be factored in!

Company parties and celebrations

Yes, sometimes corporate travel can turn into leisure travel very quickly… and that’s for sure when you want to travel for a company party or celebration! “Why do people travel for business?” Going to a company party is probably the best answer to the question. – Workplace celebrations are a great way to boost morale, make employees feel appreciated and create a sense of belonging. And we’ll bet they’re the trips that will experience the fewest last-minute cancellations.

Trade shows and conferences

Did you know that nearly 85% of travelers expect to travel to trade shows as a key part of their global business travel in the coming year? Major industry events often represent a significant date in a professional’s travel plans and are sure to continue into the future of work. Business travelers can take long-haul flights to be able to attend such events around the world. Whether they plan to attend TECHSpo in New York, Saastr in San Francisco, or Gitex in Dubai, you need to factor trade shows and conferences into your travel expenses!

Read more about Trade show and conferences

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