Whether you’re new to the world of corporate travel or an experienced business traveler, you may be wondering about the different types of business travel. People travel on business for numerous reasons, from all-business conferences and meetings to “bleisure”. Traveling for work can mean anything from a weekend business trip to an offshore posting that lasts up to a few months or years.
Business travelers can have vastly diverging needs depending on the type of trip they’re going on. Below, we’ll explore the different types of business travel, and how to choose the right accommodation and transport options for your business trip.
What are the different types of business travel?
Event and conference travel
Many companies send their employees to corporate events and conferences. Conference attendees may attend seminars and workshops, as well as organized meals or networking sessions. These events are meant to offer professional learning and development, while facilitating networking with peers, potential clients, and service providers.
Internal meetings and visiting offices
For national and multinational companies with multiple offices, business travel is a key way to ensure the entire organization is aligned. Employees and leadership may need to travel to other offices to discuss specific projects and business strategy. They may also visit other offices to build a more integrated organizational culture.
Employees or executives may need to travel to meet clients or prospects. In some countries, such as Japan, face-to-face meetings and informal gatherings are an important part of the local business culture — so business travel is essential in order to maintain strong client relationships.
Trade fairs, also known as trade shows or trade exhibitions, are a key sales channel in certain industries. Trade fairs give companies the opportunity to present their products or services to interested buyers. They can be a valuable tool for direct sales, brand awareness, and building customer relationships.
Employees of both business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) companies may travel to exhibit at trade shows. B2B trade shows are focused more on relationship-building, while B2C trade shows are geared towards direct sales.
Transfers and offshore work
While a typical business trip lasts only a few days or weeks, long-term transfers are a much more significant commitment. Employees sometimes need to relocate to a different city or country for a certain period of time. They may be required to work on a specific project, set up a new function or business process, or otherwise transfer knowledge from one location to another.
Transfers are often more challenging than short-term business travel, especially when they involve moving to another country. In this case, businesses may need to handle visas and taxation paperwork. They’ll also need to support the transferred employee with issues like culture shock, finding housing, and setting up their lives in the new location.
A final type of business travel is bleisure travel (“business travel” + “leisure travel”). Bleisure travel is very popular: research from Expedia Media Solutions shows that more than 60% of business trips included a leisure component. Any of the different types of business travel mentioned above could be turned into a bleisure trip.
Bleisure travelers extend their business trips to leave time for sightseeing and relaxation. Since business trips often involve visiting interesting new cities or countries, it’s understandable that many travelers are eager to make the most of their travel experience and see a bit of the world.
This hybrid travel style can be beneficial to both employers and employees. By allowing bleisure travel, businesses can encourage employees to volunteer for business trips more often. In addition, travelers may benefit from the relaxing break, arriving back at the office refreshed and recharged.
However, if you plan to allow bleisure travel at your company, be sure to have the right corporate travel policies in place to ensure everything goes smoothly.
Business travel and transportation
Different types of travel may call for different types of transportation. There are a number of factors to consider when choosing whether to book train tickets, plane tickets, car rentals, etc. Here are some things to keep in mind.
- Cost: Are certain transport options more budget-friendly?
- Distance: How far will travelers be going?
- Urgency: Are travelers short on time? Would they benefit from a faster transportation option (such as a high-speed train or a short-haul flight?)
- Group bookings: Do travelers need to be seated together? Are there cost advantages to having travelers share transportation (such as a shared vehicle?)
- Sustainability policies: Would certain transport options help meet your corporate sustainability goals and lower your carbon footprint?
- Accessibility: Do any travelers have mobility challenges or other accessibility needs?
- Seniority: Will you offer business-class tickets or other travel perks and upgrades for senior employees and executives?
Business travel and accommodation
Business travel accommodation options include hotel rooms (budget, mid-range, or high-end), Airbnb rentals, or apartment rentals. When choosing which type of accommodation to book, consider these factors:
- Cost: Is budget a major factor in your decision-making? If so, are there budget-friendly accommodation options (like short-term apartment rentals) available?
- Facilities: Will travelers on long-term trips need access to certain household facilities (such as a kitchen or laundry?) Will travelers on short-term trips need access to certain time-saving facilities (like a 24-hour front desk, printer, WiFi, restaurant or gym on-premises, etc.?)
- Accessibility: Do any travelers have reduced mobility or other accessibility needs? Does the property have stairs or other mobility impediments?
- Safety: Is the property in a safe location? Are there security cameras or personnel on-site?
- Privacy: Will travelers need to share hotel rooms or other spaces? Do all travelers feel comfortable, or are there potential privacy concerns?
- Seniority: Will you offer high-end hotels and a VIP experience for senior employees and executives?
When booking your transportation and accommodation, consider using a business travel booking site. TravelPerk allows you to book, manage, and report on your business trips, all in one convenient place.
Why corporate travel policies are an essential for business travel
Regardless of the type of business trip you’re planning, it’s always a good idea to have a corporate travel policy. With a travel policy, companies can set clear rules and guidelines for business travelers regarding bookings, frequent flyer miles, last-minute changes, and so on. Platforms and apps like TravelPerk allow business travelers to easily self-book trips that fit their needs, while still remaining compliant with company policy.
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