The Fu­ture of Busi­ness Travel

Ac­cord­ing to re­cent sta­tis­tics, trav­ellers are ac­tu­ally look­ing for­ward to their next busi­ness trip. And why not? It’s never been so good to get out of the of­fice

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IT’S TRUE THAT NOT LONG ago, for most peo­ple, busi­ness travel was all about red-eye flights, dingy air­port ho­tels, and driv­ing rental cars to glum in­dus­trial parks. Thank­fully, things have changed — so much so, in fact, that most work­ers are ac­tu­ally start­ing to see travel as a job perk.

Ac­cord­ing to a re­cent re­port con­ducted by Yougov for Amer­i­can Ex­press, 73 per cent of busi­ness trav­ellers say they en­joy the op­por­tu­nity to travel for work and nearly 90 per cent of busi­ness trav­el­ers say con­ti­nent hop­ping has widened their world view — an ex­pe­ri­ence they’ve only had ac­cess to thanks to work. And why not? Al­most 50 per cent of busi­ness trav­ellers say that ex­pe­ri­enc­ing new coun­tries and cul­tures is a per­sonal as­pect they like the most. So if you’re fly­ing all the way to Copen­hagen, it can be in­vig­o­rat­ing to meet with clients face to face and then spend a few ex­tra days ex­plor­ing what­ever’s in the Louisiana Mu­seum of Mod­ern Art.

Com­pa­nies are now be­gin­ning to un­der­stand that glo­be­trot­ting is cru­cial to at­tract­ing the best and bright­est tal­ent. Sta­tis­tics show that em­ploy­ees now value busi­ness travel more than com­pany car bud­gets, the long-reign­ing ul­ti­mate perk. And it makes sense. In an era where com­pa­nies and in­dus­tries can sprawl across con­ti­nents, eight out of 10 pro­fes­sion­als still say face to face meet­ings mat­ter, prov­ing that in-per­son meet­ings are still a vi­tal part of do­ing busi­ness de­spite new tech­nolo­gies. (Sorry, Facetime.)

So, what’s changed? Your lit­tle post work for­ays to that speakeasy in Hong Kong, that’s what. Nearly half of all busi­ness trav­ellers are now plan­ning ex­tracur­ric­u­lars around their lap­top time and are much hap­pier for it. “When it comes to com­pany per­for­mance, busi­nesses un­der­stand the im­por­tance of face-to-face con­nec­tions,” says Paul Ro­man, VP and gen­eral man­ager of global com­mer­cial pay­ments at Amer­i­can Ex­press, a man who’s quite fa­mil­iar with work­ing trips. “Busi­ness travel is also hav­ing a pos­i­tive im­pact on em­ploy­ees, with trav­ellers tak­ing ad­van­tage of their time away to en­joy new ex­pe­ri­ences and cul­tures.” So choose a ho­tel near a gallery you’ve been want­ing to ex­plore, or with a Miche­lin-starred restau­rant; pack a bathing suit — or at least some­thing other than just a suit; and add an ex­tra day to your itin­er­ary if you can. It’s time to make the most of your next busi­ness trip.

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