In the last 20 years, the way people travel for business has changed significantly
Business trips have been a part of certain roles and occupations for centuries. From the travelling salesman to the high-powered executive flying all over the world for lunches and deals over cocktails, business travel brings with it a sense of luxury and excitement. In the last 20 years however, the way people travel for business has changed significantly. In fact, if you’ve been out of the business travel game for a while, then things may look a little unrecognisable. In this article, we’ll take you through three of the ways that business travel has changed over the last decade or so.
1. Mixing business and pleasure
The old adage suggests that business and pleasure should never be mixed. However, it has become increasingly common for business travellers to add a few vacation days to the end of their trip to see the sights and sounds of the city that they are visiting.
Not only does this allow them to split the cost of their trip with their employer, it is also an excellent chance to learn more about the unique culture of the place they are doing business, meaning that the employer also benefits from the extended stay.
2. Doing things independently
In the old days, most business travellers had to make their plans through the company travel agent, which generally left them restricted to a limited range of hotels, airlines and other travel providers that their employer had signed a deal with.
Nowadays, it’s increasingly common for businesses to give their travellers a budget and ask them to submit receipts and claim back what they spend. This has the advantage of allowing travellers, who are generally comfortable with making their own arrangements over the internet, to stay in places and use transport options that suit their requirements.
The main disadvantage of this approach is that it generally requires the traveller to spend their own money upfront and reclaim it from their employer later, a process which can take several months.
3. Staying with friends
The popularity of study abroad schemes and social media means that travellers increasingly have their own network of friends and family abroad. Some employers allow staff to take advantage of this by paying them a bonus when they stay with friends on a business trip rather than using a hotel.
This also gives the employer access to a fully informed city guide who can help them to get to know the place they are doing business in and remove some of the stresses that come along with travelling for work.
Business travel is sure to continue to change in the years to come, especially as technology and work cultures continue to develop and progress. We may only be at the beginning of a wave of change. One thing is clear, though: business travel is only set to increase as new generations enter the workforce — a reported 39% of millenial and Generation Z workers wouldn’t take a job that didn’t include some form of travel.