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American Express Global Business Travel - logoIn the wake of unprecedented challenges and amidst a burgeoning hybrid work landscape, business magnates and decision-makers have concluded that business travel is pivotal and even more crucial than pre-pandemic.

In a compelling new report titled Investing in Travel to Drive Business Growth: A Strategy for Thriving in Disruption, released jointly by American Express Global Business Travel (Amex GBT) and Harvard Business Review Analytic Services, the unmistakable resonance of in-person meetings has been unveiled. Distilling insights from 425 business leaders worldwide, the research brings to light the incontestable returns companies gain from face-to-face interactions in today’s ever-evolving professional milieu.

They are unlocking Business Potential Through Personal Connections. 84% of respondents believe in-person meetings facilitate stronger customer ties and are the most potent sales and strategic discussion method. Regarding cementing relationships and nurturing organizational camaraderie, 88% opine that face-to-face interactions are paramount, especially in an era where only a meagre 7% claim a complete office-based working model.

Colleen Kearney, Global Corporate Travel Leader at RTX, succinctly captures this sentiment, emphasizing, “The potency of returning to business travel has been palpable. It’s about establishing unhindered personal connections which, in turn, pave the way for myriad opportunities and groundbreaking ideas.”

They are nurturing Innovation Through Tangible Interactions. On the innovation front, 81% agree that in-person rendezvous stimulates more significant ingenuity, with seven out of ten accentuating such meetings as the epitome of brainstorming facilitation.

It is bridging the Gap Between Ideals and Implementation. While the virtues of business travel are widely acknowledged, the chasm between its importance and its tangible execution remains. For instance, 78% underline the criticality of apt funding, and only 33% witness it in their travel programs, revealing a staggering 45-point gap. Similarly, alignment with overarching business strategies and executive leadership support highlight significant gaps of 36 and 33 points, respectively.

Reflecting on the findings, Andrew Crawley, Amex GBT President, shared, “The results underscore business travel’s paramount role in not just linking individuals but also in spearheading growth. In this age of constant upheaval, the imperativeness of managed business travel is more pronounced.”

Meanwhile, Alex Clemente of Harvard Business Review accentuates the perils of sidestepping face-to-face engagements. “Collaboration, innovation, and relationships stand jeopardized without maintaining in-person bonds with clients, peers, and partners,” he warns.

The full report offers comprehensive insights for those keen on diving deeper into the intricate tapestry of how managed travel fuels business growth in hybrid settings.

In a world where the ‘new normal’ is continuously redefined, the enduring value of in-person interactions remains an unshakable cornerstone for businesses aiming to soar.




Written by: Anne Keam