UK National Statistics for 2018 showed that more than 6 million business trips were taken from the UK. 2019 figures obviously aren’t published yet, but we’re interested to see what has happened as a result of the increasing pressure on companies and individuals to reduce air travel.
In our business, we aren’t seeing a downward trend in air travel in fact quite the opposite, with more opportunity for overseas business being available driving more trips abroad both to the EU and Rest of World.
Despite modern day conferencing devices making it easier for meetings to take place remotely, there seems to be no replacement for the intimacy of a face to face meeting, particularly at high level.
Communication is more effective face to face; reading body language, facial expressions and listening to the tone of voice. Reading people is a crucial skill in international business, especially when dealing with people who have different social norms.
The difference in times zones for most of these countries doesn’t make virtual meetings particularly straightforward for anything outside of EMEA countries, so long haul travel is still very much required. Often a physical presence is necessary to oversee projects something that can’t always happen virtually.
Where we are finding change is with the choices that corporate and private business travellers are making:
UK business travellers are making a conscious decision to place their business with airlines with greater green credentials, those willing to offset their carbon emissions being more favourable than those who aren’t.
Most car rental providers offer a version of Hertz’s Green Traveller Collection. Offering hybrid and electric cars with high fuel efficiency ratings.
An increasing number of worldwide hotel chains are plugging their green credentials and eco friendly initiatives in a bid to attract the green business traveller. An example here from the Radisson Hotel Group in Asia.
Certainly for short haul flights there is usually the option to ‘let the train take the strain’ journeys within the UK and Western Europe can be accommodated via train travel, for journeys under 250 miles conventional rail will usually be faster than air travel. Between 250 and 500 miles journeys high speed rail has the potential to shift from air to train travel. Over 500 miles, you’re better off with air travel as being likely the fastest option door to door.
Recently the Guardian reported that “British Airways will offset all domestic flight emissions from next year, after its owner IAG became the first airline group to commit to net-zero carbon flying by 2050.”
carbonfootprint.com offers users an easy way to offset their business travel. A simple website tool, calculates the carbon footprint of the travel mode emissions, offering a Carbon offset to compensate for the emission by funding an equivalent carbon dioxide saving elsewhere.
Our clients experience the advantages of carrying out international business face to face. Individual business travellers and corporates can ease their conscience by choosing options with green credentials of which there are many, and as a Travel Counsellor for Business, I’m only too happy to assist and advise. Call Katharine Cleall on 01202 802166.