Business travel is a mainstay in many sectors. In some cases, you're going to have to take a trip across the country or around the world. Whether you need to meet with clients or visit one of your company's branches, you must make sure the trip is successful to maximize the return on investment.
According to the U.S. Travel Association, a study of 14 industries over 18 years shows that companies earn $9.50 in increased revenue for every $1 spent on travel. In tough times when sales are lagging and organizations are trying to optimize profit margins, investing in regular trips can make a world of different financially.
That's not to say that you'll be rolling in dough every time you send an employee on the road. Without adequate preparations, you'll waste both time and money. Read on for a look at what goes into a successful and profitable business trip.
Look the part
Appearances matter in corporate procedures, so you have to look like a professional during your travels. It may seem like a pain to pack your finest suit or best skirt, but you have to dress well no matter who you're speaking with at your destination.
If you're meeting with a client or lead, bring an outfit that you've worn on job interviews. You want to put your best foot forward so you should only wear clothes that are suitable for a professional situation.
Pick a card
According to the New York Daily News, you should bring plenty of business cards on your trip. The news source notes that you don't know who you'll meet and that traveling is a great chance to start networking.
Business cards might feel like relics of a bygone era, but they can actually help you stand out these days. Because so many professionals rely on LinkedIn to find contacts, people may remember you because you connected with them in real life, not online.
You can't ignore the home office during your trip. If you're supposed to talk to a client, your boss likely wants to know how it went. When you're visiting another office, management probably wants status updates and feedback on how that branch is doing.
In either case, business communications tools can help you connect with your colleagues. Install video conferencing software on your laptop, tablet and smartphone so you can call headquarters regardless of where you are or what you're doing. The technology allows you to conduct quick face-to-face discussions before getting back to work.
All the cords
Of course, you can't hold an online meeting if none of your devices are charged. The New York Daily News recommends bringing all of your cords with you on your trip and keeping them handy. Even if you're only going to be gone for a day, you need to able to plug your gadgets in so you can use them for the duration of your trip. The news source also points out that it couldn't hurt to bring a mobile power strip so you can plug everything in at once.