In our age of technology, why do companies feel the need to send staff off to far away destinations? Couldn’t technology just as easily help clinch a deal? Why do more and more CEOs and their team choose to set up face-to-face meetings instead?

Considering the costs involved in flying your teams around the world, it may come as a surprise that spending on business travel is experiencing exponential growth, an expansion set to continue.

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The Importance Of Human Contact

Anyone who has read an email, sent or received a text message or been on a conference call will know that it is exceedingly difficult to “read” your counterpart, to judge reactions and weigh up the next move. Body language, intonation, facial expressions and eye-to-eye contact cannot be digitally transmitted and it is these areas of human communication that are vital and decisive when it comes to making a deal. Whether it is approval or disapproval, agreement or strife, on the phone or video, you can never quite tell what the other person is feeling precisely because you are not sitting at the same table.

A Broadened Mind Is Invigorated

Negotiating deals with partners from a different country or even culture can potentially be difficult and unless you are familiar with the way people from different cultures do business and how their societies, governments and economies work, you will find it extremely difficult to establish valuable partnerships.

For any potential deal to come to a fruitful conclusion, you must display a deep understanding of your potential client’s or partner’s culture and in nothing beats setting foot and experiencing their culture to do so. Not only will you enjoy meeting your counterpart, you will also be given the opportunity to examine their businesses, how they communicate, how society and the country’s economy are run. Equipped with this insight, you will be in a much better position to enter negotiations and initiate a long-term partnership.

Many deals have been lost because of such lack of cultural awareness and it is only those who truly seek to understand the culture, mentality and work practices of potential partners or clients that are in a position to establish a lasting collaboration. Negotiating partners will always make a special effort to go the extra mile when in the field and often speak of the incredibly educational, mind-broadening experiences enjoyed while trotting across the globe meeting people.

A Thought Spared for Travelling Employees

A company must not only bear in mind the financial value gained from clinching international deals when travelling but must also focus on the importance of investing in the comfort of their travelling employees. Allowing for comfortable travel arrangement, decent meals and accommodation as well as an entertainment budget represent an investment in staff well-being that will smooth if not enhance the quality of the relationship (no one works well with an obvious lack of sleep).

A Must-Make Investment

While it is important to manage the travel budget, and the times of spending lavishly are over, any business travel should be looked upon as a business investment and not just a cost of sales. Many experts warn that growth is absolutely dependent on business travel expenditure. If deals depend on face-to-face meetings, surely business travel expenditure must be considered an investment and not a perk.

As more and more businesses go global, they have to be prepared to invest in comfortable business travel. Failure to do so will certainly lead to loss of sales and revenue and curtail growth.