Why your organisation needs a strong travel culture

Having a travel culture in an organisation can be a competitive advantage for organisations today, a new survey by Harvard Business Review Analytical Services and Egencia has revealed.

In fact, nearly six in 10 (58{3132c872e6c78dc13c400a594a399f7f701f7fca090fe22c84668d12b33a9deb}) of business leaders surveyed said having a strong travel culture – one where the company, its leaders and its processes support the use of corporate travel as a form of strategic investment with business value – is very important to their organisation’s business performance today.

The research was published in a report titled Travel Culture: Your Competitive Advantage in a Global Market‘, and showcased the various benefits of having a travel culture in the organisation, as highlighted by respondents.

When asked about the biggest benefits reaped when employees travel within the organisation, the following were cited:

  • Increased collaboration (67{3132c872e6c78dc13c400a594a399f7f701f7fca090fe22c84668d12b33a9deb}).
  • The ability to build stronger relationship within the organisation (66{3132c872e6c78dc13c400a594a399f7f701f7fca090fe22c84668d12b33a9deb}).
  • Better management of geographically dispersed teams (55{3132c872e6c78dc13c400a594a399f7f701f7fca090fe22c84668d12b33a9deb}).
  • The unification of a business culture across the globe (40{3132c872e6c78dc13c400a594a399f7f701f7fca090fe22c84668d12b33a9deb}).

Similar benefits were seen when employees travel to meet key partners and customers. This includes:

  • Building closer relationships with key customers (62{3132c872e6c78dc13c400a594a399f7f701f7fca090fe22c84668d12b33a9deb}).
  • Better collaboration with key partners and suppliers (55{3132c872e6c78dc13c400a594a399f7f701f7fca090fe22c84668d12b33a9deb}).
  • Increased understanding of customer needs (51{3132c872e6c78dc13c400a594a399f7f701f7fca090fe22c84668d12b33a9deb}).
  • Improved customer experience (41{3132c872e6c78dc13c400a594a399f7f701f7fca090fe22c84668d12b33a9deb}).

“There’s no denying that in-person interactions can foster closer relationships with customers and business partners as well. For organisations operating at a global scale, such face time demands investment in travel,” the report stated.

Overall, business travel is a relationship builder – both inside and outside the organisation.

In particular, 84{3132c872e6c78dc13c400a594a399f7f701f7fca090fe22c84668d12b33a9deb} of respondents said in-person meetings are required in order to maintain positive long-term relationships with customers; eight in 10 (80{3132c872e6c78dc13c400a594a399f7f701f7fca090fe22c84668d12b33a9deb}) said it does so with key business partners and suppliers; and 78{3132c872e6c78dc13c400a594a399f7f701f7fca090fe22c84668d12b33a9deb} said it helps foster relationships between employees and colleagues.

A comparison of different organisations’ travel culture priorities was also highlighted in the chart below:



The survey involved 587 readers of Harvard Business Review, in the regions:

  • North America (53{3132c872e6c78dc13c400a594a399f7f701f7fca090fe22c84668d12b33a9deb})
  • Europe (26{3132c872e6c78dc13c400a594a399f7f701f7fca090fe22c84668d12b33a9deb})
  • Asia Pacific (13{3132c872e6c78dc13c400a594a399f7f701f7fca090fe22c84668d12b33a9deb})
  • Latin America (4{3132c872e6c78dc13c400a594a399f7f701f7fca090fe22c84668d12b33a9deb})
  • Middle East/Africa (3{3132c872e6c78dc13c400a594a399f7f701f7fca090fe22c84668d12b33a9deb})

The list was made up of leaders from varying roles including senior managers/department heads, directors, managers, and C-suite leaders, across industries.