Nowadays, many companies regard business travel as an avoidable cost, as modern technology allows for remote interactions that were unthinkable before. Video conferencing is widely used when it is not possible to physically travel to the customer or partner, but is it really the best method when it comes to business? We have to admit that nothing surpasses communication in person, especially when it comes to sensitive issues or to establish an initial relationship with the interlocutor. Let's see 4 reasons why business travel is essential and allows us to improve our business.
Why is it better to have a face-to-face meeting rather than "mediated" communication?
Here are the reasons for continuing to invest in business travel.
1.Fostering new customer confidence
Especially when you have to meet a prospect or a new customer, the face-to-face meeting is essential to establish a relationship of trust and mutual knowledge. Emails, calls, but also video calls, although you can see, will never allow the same level of interaction and sharing of a meeting in person.
A real conversation, in fact, allows you to go deeper, allowing you to better understand the needs, doubts and needs of the interlocutor. The level of empathy that will be created in a physical encounter will certainly be greater, thus increasing the possibility of closing a negotiation or starting a collaboration.
In addition, face-to-face communication often avoids possible misunderstandings (very frequent especially in its written form) and encourages a sense of unity between the parties. This is one of the pillars of corporate communication, which is essential for successful projects.
2.Strengthening relationships with existing customers
The importance of face-to-face meetings does not only apply to new customers: it is crucial to organise face-to-face meetings also with existing customers to strengthen and reaffirm the trust that was obtained and built with great difficulty at the beginning of the collaboration.
Furthermore, organizing a live meeting can be an opportunity to propose a new offer and to show concretely how this can be integrated into the business of the interlocutor, something that can not be done during a video call.
3.Increasing the network of contacts
Being in the office all day long, the opportunities to grow your business are certainly not very high. During the journey itself - perhaps waiting to embark in the lounge of an airport or on board the plane - there is a chance to meet someone who is related to the business of the company and with whom, why not, you can establish a relationship or a useful contact.
If the business trip also includes a trade fair or conference, the opportunities are multiplied. Never underestimate the value and power of the network of contacts and knowledge that can be created, because they can give rise to unimaginable and valuable opportunities.
4.Improving travelers' skills
The opportunities that business travel provides are not only commercial, but also educational for team members. The latter, in fact, have the opportunity to increase their skills, get involved, find themselves in a new situation and perhaps not usual, this will promote their ability to cooperate and adaptability, as well as the fact that they will really feel part of the company business, all key elements for employees of any company. But not only: it can happen that the business trip is organized for training purposes. It is true that many courses are available online, but the knowledge acquired can not be compared to classroom training, having the opportunity to ask questions, clarify questions and interact with teachers.
Without a doubt, travel is a cost not to be underestimated for companies, but the chances of having a positive ROI are high. By optimizing travel costs through small measures, you can avoid additional costs, so the benefits will be even greater.
In this perspective, a travel manager can play a key strategic role in negotiating the best fares, defining procedures to contain expenses and informing colleagues about the services included or not, raising awareness of the importance of complying with travel policies. By optimally managing travel expenses, it is clear that the gain in new opportunities and business growth will be greater than the cost of travel itself.
Despite the widespread diffusion of new and more advanced technologies, therefore, it is difficult to assume that a means of communication can replace direct experience and face-to-face conversation with the interlocutor, whatever the purpose of the meeting. Business travel allows, through the unmediated relationship, to create and consolidate a relationship of trust, establish new partnerships and increase the cultural background and skills of the traveler. It is worth considering it, carefully assessing the objectives and the ROI. If the positive assumptions are met, there is no reason to reduce the budget!