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%) 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%).
  • The ability to build stronger relationship within the organisation (66%).
  • Better management of geographically dispersed teams (55%).
  • The unification of a business culture across the globe (40%).
Similar benefits were seen when employees travel to meet key partners and customers. This includes:
  • Building closer relationships with key customers (62%).
  • Better collaboration with key partners and suppliers (55%).
  • Increased understanding of customer needs (51%).
  • Improved customer experience (41%).
"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% of respondents said in-person meetings are required in order to maintain positive long-term relationships with customers; eight in 10 (80%) said it does so with key business partners and suppliers; and 78% 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%)
  • Europe (26%)
  • Asia Pacific (13%)
  • Latin America (4%)
  • Middle East/Africa (3%)
The list was made up of leaders from varying roles including senior managers/department heads, directors, managers, and C-suite leaders, across industries.