As the economy begins to improve, companies still find themselves cutting costs by eliminating business trips. It makes sense—remove trips and you save money—yet is it smart? At March Communications, we frequently travel and believe that business trips are a core component of a successful company.
Face-to-face contact is an irreplaceable advantage of business travel. The value of videoconferencing, email, and Skype is not to be undermined, yet they do not replace meeting in person. Face-to-face meetings allow you to observe verbal and non-verbal behaviors not captured over the phone or through video. These gestures and exchanges connect you to the client and help develop trust.
Networking opportunities is another advantage of attending conferences and trade shows. Aarti, a March employee told me a story about how she got the contact information of a valuable journalist while waiting in line for the bathroom at an event. This type of interaction is what makes business travel worth it.
Business travel also increases your revenue. A report by Oxford Economics says that for every dollar invested in business travel, companies realize $12.50 in incremental revenue and $3.80 in new profits. Therefore, by cutting business travel your company may be forfeiting profits.
To get the most out of your trip, I recommend following 5 business travel tips:
- Ask yourself if the face-to-face meeting is necessary. What can you get from this meeting that you can’t get from other means of communication?
- Make the trip hassle free. Boston’s Logan International Airport has tight security that can sometimes result in a long wait. Arriving early is essential to avoid a stressful last-minute dash to the plane.
- Have an agenda. An agenda ensures a productive meeting and lets participants know that there is a legitimate purpose for their attendance.
- Remember the trip is not a perk. Keep the trip focused on business and spend within company guidelines. No massage or beach day involved.
- Keep in touch with people you meet at conferences (as in, do PR if you work for a PR agency).
What other business tips would you suggest; do you have any advice for a successful meeting?
This post was first published by Rachel Leamon on March Communications’ blog, PR Nonsense, and may be viewed here.