The relationship between work and travel once revolved around client visits and business development. Now, thanks to the increase in remote work, internal meetings are an emerging driver of business travel.
It’s become conventional wisdom that COVID-19 forever changed the relationship between work and travel. As the pandemic has subsided and business travel has resumed, there are interesting trends around how, when, and why corporations send their team members on the road.
One prominent trend is the shift toward travel for internal meetings. In years past, business travel was driven by business development opportunities, conferences, client visits, etc. But, in an age when more and more professionals are working remotely, businesses are dedicating a larger percentage of their travel budgets to internal meetings.
As an Executive, you’ve no doubt pondered the future of work and travel within your business. Here’s a look at the future of work and travel, plus some of the deeper themes behind the shift to travel for internal meetings.
Quality Over Quantity
Before the pandemic, travel for work had become so commonplace that perhaps meetings and other gatherings sometimes lacked the focus and purpose they deserved. That’s no longer the case in a post-COVID-19 world.
Today, when Travelers get together, whether, for internal or external meetings, there’s a shift toward quality over quantity. In 2022 and beyond, meetings that require travel will emphasize deep discussion, firm decision-making, and real results that move the organization forward.
As you plan meetings that require travel, create agendas that leave plenty of space for the discussion and decision-making that modern meetings require. In the long run, you’ll find that your organization enjoys a much higher return on investment in business travel using a quality-over-quantity approach.
Inspiration, Motivation & Vision
Companies that have shifted to a remote work model have used Zoom and other virtual meeting software to maintain connections and productivity. While virtual meetings are an essential part of modern business operations, there remain some meetings that are best held in person.
In-person team meetings are ideal for inspiration, motivation, and vision. More and more companies are investing travel budget dollars in flying remote workers to a single location for essential gatherings — gatherings where leaders will share clear visions for the future, announce changes in key initiatives, and provide other important details.
But there’s more to in-person team meetings: They are the perfect opportunity for leaders to inspire and motivate their teams. When remote workers travel home from an in-person meeting, they should do so:
- Refreshed from spending time with their colleagues.
- Excited about the direction of the business.
- Eager to get back to work at their remote workspaces.
There are undoubtedly benefits to the remote-work model. That said, remote workers are more likely to reach their peak potential when allowed to meet in person regularly.
One of the great challenges with the remote work model is developing commitment and loyalty among your workforce. No matter how often you meet virtually with your team members, nothing deepens personal relationships quite like in-person meetings.
How do businesses justify the cost of travel for internal meetings? As noted above, these in-person meetings can help maximize the potential of remote workers. And they are also a great way to boost your company’s retention rate.
The cost of replacing a team member ranges from half to two times that professional’s annual salary. If your turnover rate spikes, your company will find itself pouring more and more money into the recruitment and hiring processes. In-person meetings with remote workers are an effective tool for boosting retention and saving money spent on recruitment and hiring.
Working from home is comfortable for most team members. When you allow employees to work from home, they can create their ideal workspaces and complete their daily tasks in their own environment and in their own way.
No matter how comfortable someone is working from home, though, it’s easy for cabin fever to set in. Allowing remote workers to travel for in-person meetings not only delivers all of the benefits listed above, but it also gives them balance in their work lives — the opportunity to get out of the house and experience some face-to-face interaction for once. This balance can help increase productivity, motivation, and retention.
What value are you getting for your investment in business travel? ROI is more relevant to work and travel than ever in 2022. Allowing travel for internal meetings can deliver concrete value in several different areas:
- Progress: When you emphasize quality over quantity with meetings, you’ll find that key projects and initiatives move faster. The strategic use of travel for internal meetings can lead to real progress.
- Productivity: Using internal meetings for inspiration, motivation, and vision is a great way to boost productivity. Remote workers will have clarity around their work — and they will feel inspired and motivated to complete it.
- Retention: There’s a real cost to turnover, as mentioned above. Using internal meetings for remote workers can reduce turnover and create significant savings for your business.
Before the pandemic, many companies struggled to calculate their return on investment related to business travel. The future of work and travel gives those same companies a real opportunity to nail down and optimize their travel-related ROI.
Get the Most Out of Your Travel Spend
Whether your team members travel for internal or external meetings, the JTB Business Travel Team exists to assist your organization in maximizing its travel spending. We focus on helping companies travel as cost-effectively as possible, while also creating itineraries for Travelers that emphasize comfort and productivity.
Behind every service we provide and recommendation we make is a common-sense approach to business travel. Contact us to discover what we can do as your travel management company.