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The Return of Business Travel 2022
25 February 2022 |  Travel Blogs
In this article, we’re going to talk about the return of business travel in 2022 and discuss the impact of networking. We’ve also included a bit of an MROME 2022 event round up.
In February 2022 we demonstrated trust in our services and hopped on a plane for a business trip of our own. We headed to an event called MRO Middle East in the Dubai World Trade Center. MRO is an acronym that stands for maintenance, repair and operations (or sometimes overhaul). This event was MRO aviation specific.
A significant proportion of our clients are in the aviation industry and were attending this event, so it was a great chance for us to meet them face to face for the first time. The trip taught us a lot and it reassured us to see the impact, importance, and demand for business travel.
How important is it to meet face to face?
Obviously, COVID has forced us to suffer countless amounts of zoom meetings in our shirt and tracksuit bottoms, and I for one have had enough of virtual and hybrid events. But how important is it to actually have meetings face to face? We’ve become pretty custom to remote working and we’ve now seen that virtual meetings work.
But do they?
For us, to actually meet our clients was long overdue, and it was awesome to have face to face meetings with prospective clients too. The buzz from everyone was infectious. Let’s try and remember how talking face to face makes it easier to communicate effectively. Body language helps with language barriers, and a smile goes a long way. It also significantly decreases the likelihood of misinterpreted emails and texts.
It builds loyalty and trust.
Did you know customers with an emotional relationship with a brand have a 306% higher lifetime value and will recommend the company at a rate of 71%, rather than the average rate of 45% – Hubspot
We’re more collaborative, feeding off one another’s energy. There’s space for small talk like How was your commute? I love your dress. Have you been here before? You get a chance to share an experience. Whether you’re meeting at an event, a restaurant, or in a conference room. There is a bond as you now have that experience in common.
Human beings are not made to sit in a room on a computer and working remotely is not sustainable. What is life without human interaction?
Put yourself in their shoes
It’s important to put yourself in your customers’ shoes. For us who sell business travel, it’s vital that we actually experience it.
What did we learn? Business travel is tough!
The entire trip was a real eye-opener for us, and it was great to experience what our clients experience. Incredibly long hours, late nights and early starts. But some seriously great parties.
In all seriousness, many business travellers have to head straight from work to the airport, then they’ve got the commute, and the dreaded jet jag. The bottom line is, It’s not as glamorous as you may think, and there is a lot less free time than you’d hope for. Unless you’re fortunate enough to be able to extend your trip.
For many it’s get in, and get out.
For me, not much thought into it – I log on, do what I need to do, and leave! It’s a pretty easy and simple process in my business. Clare Davies, Senior Manager – Digital Care at Three Mobile
The last person I met in Dubia told me that in this industry, when you’re meeting with a potential client, it’s 10% business chat, and the other 90% is becoming friends. I mean who wants to talk business all the time?
Show you’re willing
Not only did we attend MROME, but we were also lucky enough to be silver sponsors of the Aviation Network Group networking drinks. Alongside some great names and clients in the aviation industry; cordobaQ, First Class Air Support, STS Component Solutions. LorEau Aviation Group, Aviation Week Events, Aeropair Ltd, and Aerospace Engineering Solutions Ltd.
The ANG was originally a WhatsApp group for industry professionals to come together and network. Fast Forward 4 years and it has become a community hub where those working in aviation support each other and help grow each other’s businesses and arrange to meet up to discuss fresh news within the industry.
Being a part of this group, It was really important for us to show up to one of these events and see that hard graft that goes into this industry. Showing up shows your willingness, and helps you understand things from their perspective, therefore improving your customer service.
If you have clients that you’re yet to meet due to the pandemic, maybe think about holding your own event.
Business travel can be for many purposes, but the most common one is networking. We went to meet our clients as we feel we understand the importance of networking and meeting face to face. Through trade shows and networking events, you connect with others within your industry as well as prospective clients. And It’s a great opportunity to increase brand awareness.
By meeting people face to face, you’ll stand a higher likelihood of a strong connection, rather than trying to connect with them virtually. You build a connection because you’ve shared the same experience, you now have common ground, and you have a mutual kind of trust and respect because you’ve shown up!
Location, location, location!
If you’ve read our last blog: 6 Business Travel Tips: Dubai, then you can skip this part.
A huge lesson we learnt was the importance of location. By this I mean the location of where you’re staying vs the location of where you’re working.
We learnt in Dubai that although it may seem more logical to stay nearer to the airport, this isn’t always the case. You can actually end up spending more on taxis by staying close to the airport, because the area comes with a lack of views, and a lack of eateries and nightlife. Most people I spoke with were spending time and money on taxis each night to Jumeirah Beach for evening entertainment. MROME was held 10 minutes away from the airport and nearly everyone I spoke to who booked accommodation in that area, regretted it.
This really showed us the importance of knowing the area of where you’re going. Something we wouldn’t necessarily know unless we did the trip ourselves.
The Dubai World Trade Center was easy to access and about 10 minutes from the airport, and 20 minutes from Jumeirah Beach. We used Uber for transportation.
Filled with friendly faces, busy aisles, and beautiful booths, some of the stands had a luxurious upstairs area, and others had private conference rooms. There was a stewardess uniform rail by Balenciaga and great talks taking place at the Go Live Theatre.
Everyone was kind and welcoming, and there were clearly some great business deals taking place.
Confidence is returning
It’s great to see confidence returning in the travel industry, and seeing the importance of business travel especially for this industry. Networking reminded us of the benefits.
We saw consumer confidence by hearing about healthy future travel plans, and we experienced first hand full flights and busy airports.
Something to think about: If you’re asking your staff to fly long haul and be ready to work when they get there, then perhaps upgrading to business class should be a consideration. If you fly your staff in economy, then you most likely need to fork out for an extra night in the hotel to accommodate for jet lag and rest.
After flying economy ourselves and getting a taste for the lifestyle, we can see first-hand the benefits of flying your staff business or first class.
Thank you for reading,
Chris | Founder | echo.bravo