When the two words ‘business’ and ‘travel’ are paired together, the emphasis usually falls on the business part. Trips are taken as part of a larger corporate mission, and most travelers tend to reduce the measure of success down to the outcome of the meeting or the event.
Indeed according to a recent global survey of working professionals, when they were asked what they most hope to achieve when traveling for business, nearly half (46 percent) said the goal was growing their company’s business. However, drilling down a bit more into what inspires travelers uncovers a set of motives that carry greater significance for the careers of those whose professional lives are spent on the road.
At least, those are the findings in the survey of more than 17,000 professionals from 24 countries just released by Booking.com for Business. The report reveals business travel – in addition to being considered a key to the success of the company – is also viewed as essential to the individual’s professional growth, offering them a chance to expand their horizons and reach their full potential.
The research found 60 percent of the working professionals polled say experiencing new cultures and destinations adds value to their job. Not surprisingly, that number was higher among those of us in the travel and tourism business, with 69 percent recognizing the career benefits of travel. Perhaps less predictably, it was an opinion also share by 68 percent of those working in management consulting and by 65 percent of those in the field of architecture and design.
The most oft-cited goal for travelers in these three professional sectors was to gain understanding of a new culture and its impact on their business, looking for fresh insights into the places they travel and the people they encounter there. In the survey, that topped the list for 39 percent of travel and tourism professionals, 37 percent of management consultants and 36 percent of architects and designers.
However the value of travel is different in different professional settings. For example, for 45 percent of those in the fields of social work and community welfare, the top goal of travel is to gain inspiration to apply to their work. Travel also serves as a catalyst for 43 percent of professionals in cultural development and the arts, 41 percent in the field of education and a like number in communications and media.
The opportunity to spend time with colleagues or clients and strengthen professional relationships is what makes travel appealing for fully half of the respondents working for charities and NGOs. And the top aim of travel for 41 percent of armed forces and education professionals is to learn a new skill they can apply to their job.
All these numbers point to one inescapable conclusion: Travel that’s good for business is also good for the business traveler. And while travel has its challenges – and there are many – on balance, the pros can outweigh the cons. It’s a wide open gateway to personal enlightenment, professional progress and opportunities that are practically boundless.
“Experiencing different cultures and destinations and gaining new perspectives through travel is becoming increasingly important to professional success, particularly in today’s hyper-connected and globalized business world,” says Ripsy Bandourian, senior director of product development at Booking.com for Business. “Regardless of profession, today’s business travelers are savvier about the value up for grabs, both for their companies and for themselves.”