As any businessperson will tell you, travelling for work reasons is very different to travelling for leisure. Business travel can often be hectic, stressful and unpredictable. Here the discussion is mostly on business travel in the United Kingdom, though many of the issues are common to business travel in just about any European area.
Business Travellers Seek Personalized Options
Business travelers want hotel options that are convenient, personalized and competitively priced with amenities. New research from the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA), in partnership with HRS, highlights these preferences while also demonstrating that many corporate travel buyers underestimate how important these elements are for their travelers.
The global research covers feedback from 700+ travel buyers and procurement executives, as well as nearly 2,700 business travelers. Online surveys were done from March to May of 2019. GBTA will feature this research in an education session at the GBTA conference in Chicago on Tuesday, August 6.
The vast majority of buyers and travelers agree that factors like proximity to work engagement (91% travelers, 97% buyers) and price (86% travelers, 96% buyers) are important in selecting a hotel. However, buyers might be undervaluing the importance of experiential factors like proximity to restaurants and entertainment (86% travelers, 66% buyers), traveler reviews (83% travelers, 63% buyers) and loyalty program benefits (74% travelers, 63% buyers).
Simplifying Air Travel
Citizens from many English-speaking countries do not require a visa when travelling to the UK for tourism purposes, and can generally stay for up to six months visa-free. However, you must check your specific visa requirements prior to travelling. If you want to simplify your flight to the UK, spend a little time doing some homework in advance of your trip.
Generally, you must hold a passport that is valid for the entire duration of your stay, but again this can differ depending on your country of residence and it is often advised that wherever you’re travelling in the world, you should always have at least six months validity on your passport after the date of your departure. Always stay up-to-date with the latest travel regulations before heading off on any trip.
The UK’s currency is the Pound Sterling, and as with any trip it’s good to have some cash to hand for when you arrive. Having said that, ATMs are plentiful in the UK, and as long as you’ve told your bank that you’ll be using your card overseas, you shouldn’t have any problems withdrawing cash.
When travelling from the airport to wherever you’re staying, an airport transfer is your best bet — in London the Tubes and trains are connected to some of the main airports, but navigating them when you’ve just landed and carrying all of your luggage can be a nightmare.
If you’re looking to keep costs low when it comes to getting yourself to London, then grab a low-cost flight with the likes of Ryan Air or Easy Jet. These carriers tend to prioritise the cheaper landing fee in airports like Stansted airport — with fares ultimately being lower than their rival carriers landing at Heathrow or London City. Stansted is around 45 minutes by train or 1 hour by bus into the city-centre. You can also opt to use a chauffeur service for your transportation from the airport to your hotel — UK airport transfers are discussed next.
Simplifying Ground Travel
London is a fantastic place to conduct business, firstly because it is the most connected city in the world. From the five major airports that service the capital, London receives direct flights from over 360 locations globally. London’s history itself stems from growth, trade and business, meaning that you are never short of choice for business hotels, meeting spaces and venues. There is truly something for every occasion and budget.
Gatwick, Stanstead and Luton Airports have all undergone (and are still undergoing) major investment, improvement, expansion and refurbishment. Yet getting to and from these (and any other UK) airports can still be inconvenient and stressful. Leaving the driving to others is the best way to simply airport transfers in the United Kingdom. That often means relying on a chauffeur service to deliver you from an airport to your hotel, and vice versa. While a traditional taxi will get the job done, in recent years chauffeur rates have dropped to be inline and competitive with standard taxi fares — so riding in the class and comfort of a chauffeur-driven Mercedes E-Class makes more sense than ever. Cars Exec is one of several chauffeur services that can be relied upon to take the stress out of UK airport transfers. Read more about UK travel here.
Brexit and Business Travel
Freedom of movement across the EU has led to a thriving marketplace, with travel over the last decades made simple for companies in the UK and Europe. But, the moment the UK made the decision to leave the EU, this changed. Business travelers have been left in limbo, wondering what impact this profound change will have on the marketplace, the company they represent and, ultimately, their livelihood.
Since the referendum, experts have queued up to offer their opinion on what will happen, when it will happen and why, but the truth is, nobody knows. It may take several years before the UK makes a clean break from the EU after separating out all of the entanglements.
Perhaps the primary concern for business travelers is the abolition of freedom of movement. The ‘open skies‘ agreement between the UK and the EU has been a massive weight off the wings of business travelers. No need for a visa — just whip out your passport and you’re good to go. But once Brexit kicks in, British citizens may well be third country nationals without automatic rights to enter the EU.
However, there’s a strong chance that not much will change in this regard. The Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) — who are working closely with the UK government — are confident of securing the best possible deal for the UK travel industry.
Add to this the fact that the economic importance of travel can’t be overstated enough. The travel industry plays a crucial part in the UK economy, with leisure travel making up 13% of economic activity and the corporate travel industry worth a whopping £38bn. Overseas travel, in particular, is an important element of the industry with almost 5.5 million business trips made by travelers from the UK to the EU.