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How much is your travel going to cost?

This is the question asked by many companies. The reality is each year the cost of travel continues to rise.

Rising costs and the ever advancing technology now makes travelling questionable. The return on investment has never been more important, and a trip has to be approved by far more managers than ever before.

It always amazes me that people act surprised when costs rise. Most of us want a better lifestyle and that better lifestyle keeps getting more and more expensive. This has to be paid for somehow, so we go to work. Our companies have to pay for the higher salaries, bonuses and other luxuries we all like, so they require us to land better deals with our customers. Once the pond you’re standing in has been tapped out you need to travel to find other fish.

The trouble is that’s expensive. And it’s going to get even more expensive all the time. Things like meals on the airplane and in-room Wi-Fi access, that used to be included in your fare designed to entice you to use a particular airline, are now considered add on costs. And that is a worrying trend. Especially to your company’s bottom line.

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Yet, despite all of this, the travel industry is booming. Business travel spending has increased from $30 million in 2011 to an estimated $1.18 trillion travel spending in 2014 – just on business travel.

Flights, hotels, fees and political instability have all increased dramatically and continue to rise daily. Airlines are expected to rise by 3% in 2015, remaining the largest single business travelling expense, whilst hotels are expected to rise by 4.5% or even higher. Source: My Purchase Center

Hey, Big Spender!

The basic list of expenses a company is prepared to pay for covers meals, office supplies, transport, parking, petrol, mobile phone, tolls and shipping. Other reimbursements may require a creative skill not necessarily listed in your job description.

What’s really interesting is that studies have shown that small businesses are spending approximately a quarter more on business travel including airfares, transportation and meals than their counterparts in larger organisations. This may be because the deals are smaller than their rivals, and so they have to travel more to make more.

Why Travel At All?

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With all of these money drains and with technology recreating itself all the time, why does business travel still exist?

The answer to this question is simple. Face-to-face meetings carry far more weight and, in the end, cost the company less. Phone calls, or similar style technologically-based meetings are easy to interrupt and technology can fail, messages can be misinterpreted and a people can get easily distracted without anyone realising.

We get so caught up in the advancement of technology and how it allows us to talk to people on the other side of the globe, that we forget one of the most fundamental rules about communication. 7% is the actual words spoken. Say that out loud – 7%. It’s not a lot is it? 38% of communication is the tone of your voice. 55% of our communication is body language. 55%! It’s not just what you say or how you say it that counts. People read you! Your body language, your facial expression etc.

Source: Yahoo Finance

Physically being in the same room as your client is really the only way to make sure they are truly engaged and ensure everyone is actively participating. It’s much easier to clarify your meaning and, funnily enough, get to the point and make decisions when you’re face-to-face.

There is no doubt that business travel is here to stay and with technology on the ever rise, the need for face to face meetings will no doubt continue to increase to compensate. So with business travel increasing each year it is essential to find a way to make booking and managing your travel as easy and efficient as possible to save your company time and money. Because, without travel how much business are you potentially losing?

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