Being a management consultant means traveling, a lot. Whether you’re working for one of ‘The Big Four’ (EY, PwC, Deloitte or KPMG) or any other consulting firm, you’re likely to be moving around. It’s important for management consultants to visit the client site where possible, so they can really understand the companies they’re working with.
From global industry leaders such as BCG, Bain, and McKinsey to local consultants, there’s definitely an image of what it means to travel for business—which doesn’t always match with reality. To give you an idea of what to expect as a traveling management consultant, we’ve put together a list of the most common preconceptions about business travel, separating the myths from the truths!
Let’s dive in.
Debunking common myths and facts about traveling as a management consultant
1. You’ll have a lot of free time while on the road
It might sound lavish and glamorous—hours in the on-site spa facilities and luxurious dinners out—but in reality business travel as a management consultant means business. A Monday morning anywhere in the world is still a Monday morning, whether you’re in Sydney or San Francisco.
If you’re a seasoned consultant with plenty of business travel experience, you’ll know that schedules are often grueling. Most hours, from morning to night, are filled with meetings, conferences, client events and business dinners. In the consulting industry, a business trip is a jam-packed, productive couple of days with little time for leisure.
2. You’ll find better rates if you book on your own
The fact is, there’s no comparing the savings you can enjoy by booking with your company’s travel management partner. Travel management companies (TMCs) have strategic partnerships with airlines and accommodation, which provide you with exclusive discounts you simply can’t get hold of by yourself.
You can still use your company credit card to book any trips, and using corporate travel management company TravelPerk’s software integrations, you can share any travel data with relevant colleagues and their tech—for example, to invoice travel expenses to your employers using expense management software like Divvy or Expensify.
Booking with a corporate travel management firm means access to the best pricing, but also the best booking experience.
Want to find out more about how to integrate your travel plans into your company’s tech stack?
3. A flexible fare will cover all travel mishaps
Travel-of all kinds- is often subject to factors outside your control. A storm, a delayed meeting, an unwell employee, you name it. A corporate travel management company may offer a ‘flexible fare’ to mitigate this, but actually most of these won’t cover many modifications or last-minute cancellations. The average ‘flexible fare’ saving is around 40%, but the best TMCs offer a much better deal.
With TravelPerk, exclusive features such as FlexiPerk lets travelers enjoy the flexible business travel, with coverage that guarantees an 80% refund until two hours before your trip. Business travel can be subject to last-minute changes, so having a cancellation policy in places gives traveling consultants the peace of mind to focus on their work and enjoy a hassle-free trip.
4. You have no choice about where you go
Particularly for those vast global consulting firms, many people think that consultants receive an email telling them when and where to go, with very little notice. This isn’t always the case.
Your business trip destination and purpose will depend both on your seniority and speciality. It’s unlikely that you’ll get to travel much during your first year or two as a management consultant, but as soon as you start to specialize you’ll be off!
Your specialization will depend on your key strengths and, of course, interests. Seasoned consultants are also able to apply for shorter trips with specific reasons (for example family commitments).
5. You’re going to fly first class all the time
Sadly, this is a big old industry misconception. For better or worse, business travel no longer involves smoking cigars in business class lounges. You might get the odd upgrade, but companies are increasingly diligent about their travel budget.
Since the arrival of the pandemic kick-started home office trends, with video conferences and calls becoming a norm, there is less need for workers to travel in order to attend business meetings.
On long-haul flights you’re more likely to be offered first or business class seats, but for the shorter ones (2-3 hours), it’s probably a no. Just a warning—once you’ve experienced life in first/business class, there’s no going back!
6. Business travel isn’t worth the investment
Definitely a myth!
It might be costly for consulting firms, but it’s an investment. In-person project management is extremely valuable for management consultants: a client who is able to communicate directly with their consultant(s) means a much stronger, more productive relationship.
Zoom and its competitors might have become the norm for many companies, but business travel remains a vital function for any organization. In fact, face-to-face interaction is 85% more likely to build healthy, productive business relationships.
Want to find out more about why business travel is still relevant in today’s digital world?
Read our article on the potential return on investment of corporate travel.
7. You’ll have plenty of perks for being a frequent flyer
Racking up airline miles is a big plus for those with a consulting job. Once you’ve gained some momentum, you’ll be surprised at just how profitable your air miles can be. The travel industry is always keen to reward its loyal customers, and many management consultants rack up impressive points (especially the longer you’ve been a consultant and the more senior you are).
8. You’ll have plenty of opportunities for adventure
It’s true—some of your consulting projects are going to be in leading business hubs such as
Geneva London or New York, but consultant project management happens all over the world. You might equally end up in a small town in Mississippi, or a rural village in Texas.
Being flown around as a management consultant means discovering new places. You might be working full-time on your business trips, but with free weekends or canceled business dinners you can slowly discover the place you’re staying. With 89% of corporate travelers aiming to include some vacation time in their next business trip, it’s a great opportunity to explore.
9. The five-star hotel high-life awaits
One thing to remember about business travel as a management consultant: a hotel is usually just a place to shower, sleep, possibly exercise, and eat breakfast. When booking, management consultants usually go for convenient, corporate hotel chains (think InterContinental, Crowne Plaza, Westin, Sheraton) that are particularly accommodating for business travelers.
Business travel means functionality over style, meaning that everything is geared towards maximum efficiency.
Management consultants on the move: take note!
So, now our debunked myths have got you a clearer idea of what to really expect while traveling as a management consultant, you’re ready to go! Whatever your profession, traveling for business purposes is made so much better when you’re familiar with travel industry tips and tricks.
Time is of the essence on these trips, and it’s key to avoid unnecessary faff where possible. Get started with TravelPerk today to find out more about traveling efficiently as a consultant.
Make business travel simpler. Forever.
See our platform in action. Trusted by thousands of companies worldwide, TravelPerk makes business travel simpler to manage with more flexibility, full control of spending with easy reporting, and options to offset your carbon footprint.
Find hundreds of resources on all things business travel, from tips on traveling more sustainably, to advice on setting up a business travel policy, and managing your expenses. Our latest e-books and blog posts have you covered.
Never miss another update. Stay in touch with us on social for the latest product releases, upcoming events, and articles fresh off the press.