For the majority of U.S. companies, business travel is an essential part. Regardless of technological advancements, such as video conferencing and remote work capabilities, face-to-face meetings and on-site collaboration still hold importance for developing business relationships. And post covid, business travel has increased like never before. According to Statista, as of mid-2023, it was estimated that the global business travel spending at the end of the year would amount to nearly 1.4 trillion U.S. dollars. By 2027, this figure is projected to reach around 1.8 trillion dollars.

Although leisure travel has almost bounced back to normal, business travel continues to grow with more in-person events, meetings, and office resumes. 

Business travel may include different types for U.S. professionals depending on role and industry. 

Let us explore the 5 most common types of business travel: 

Business Conferences

Business conferences are among the most popular types of business travel for U.S. professionals. Here, corporate professionals get to network with other people from the industry, where they can learn and share ideas. These conferences also provide employees a platform to showcase their new research, products, and innovations. Thought leaders and subject matter experts lead multiple sessions during these conferences. Conference attendees can interact face-to-face with their peers, mentors, clients, and potential business partners. Business conferences help professionals build these relationships and expand potential contacts. 

For professionals looking to stay current in their field, conferences provide access to cutting-edge information before it is formally published. Presenters will often highlight early research results and new developments. Attending industry events allows professionals to take the pulse of their field. They can identify trends, challenges, and growth opportunities to apply to their work. Conferences require time from work and can get expensive with registration, travel, and lodging. But for many, the professional development and networking payoffs make them one of the most worthwhile types of business travel.

Trade Shows

Attending trade shows is another common type of business travel.  These large-scale events are especially important in technology, manufacturing, construction, and healthcare industries. Trade shows allow companies to showcase new products and technology to customers, connect with suppliers or partners, and get market research on what competitors are up to.

Sending employees to a trade show allows them to demonstrate products, collect leads, and network with potential customers and industry peers. It can be far more effective than trying to accomplish those goals remotely. Being able to have face-to-face conversations and hands-on product demonstrations is invaluable.

Of course, trade shows require extensive planning and preparation. Companies usually send a team to staff their booth, bring product samples or demos, and have marketing materials to hand out. Travel costs must also be budgeted for airfare, hotel, transportation, shipping items to the event, and more. But for many businesses that rely on B2B sales, investing in trade shows is well worth it. 

Sales Trip

Sales trips are business travel where sales professionals meet with current or prospective clients. The primary purpose of these types of business trips is to establish relationships and close deals. Sales professionals will plan trips to visit essential clients or prospects in their territory. The trips may last anywhere from a few days to over a week, depending on the number of clients to visit and their locations. 

Key objectives of a sales trip include:

  • Strengthening relationships with current clients through face-to-face meetings. This allows the sales rep to understand the client’s needs and challenges.
  • Pitching products or services to prospective clients. Sales reps can tailor their messaging and demonstrations when meeting in person.
  • Closing deals and signing contracts. Being on-site often makes negotiating final terms and asking for the business easier.
  • Exploring potential new business opportunities in the area. The sales rep may set up introductory meetings.
  • Attending industry events to network with prospects and generate new leads. Venues like conferences or trade shows are typical.
  • Coordinating with channel partners, resellers, distributors, etc. Aligning in person helps drive collaboration.

Client Meetings

Attending client meetings is one of the most common types of business travel for many professionals. These meetings allow sales teams and account managers to meet face-to-face with existing or potential new clients. Building strong relationships and trust with clients is vital to growing a business.

Client meetings might occur at the client’s offices, over lunch or dinner, or at other venues, depending on the nature of the business relationship. For new clients, it provides a chance to put a face to a company name and build rapport in person. It’s an opportunity for existing clients to strengthen ties and get to know each other better outside of regular business dealings.

Some key reasons why client meetings are so important for professionals:

  • Develop stronger bonds and trust that are hard to establish remotely. Being able to meet in person helps nurture the relationship.
  • Have more focused time and attention from the client versus quick phone calls or emails. There are fewer distractions and fuller conversations.
  • Read body language and visual cues that can get lost over the phone or video calls. This helps with communication, presenting, and negotiation.
  • Cater presentations, pitches, or discussions directly to that client versus a “one-size-fits-all” remote approach. The conversation can be tailored on the spot based on reactions and feedback.
  • Build networking opportunities before and after the official meeting. Impromptu conversations can lead to valuable insights that might not otherwise surface.
  • Show commitment and emphasize importance by traveling specifically to see that client when a call or email might otherwise suffice.

Hiring Events

Hiring events like college campus visits and job fairs are among the most common types of business travel for HR and recruiting professionals. These business trips require traveling to colleges and community hiring events to meet with promising job candidates.

HR professionals often plan trips to visit college campuses they recruit from heavily. The goal is to connect with soon-to-be graduates, give them more information about the company and roles, and encourage them to apply. These campus visits include tabling at a career fair, hosting an info session, or attending various classes and department events to network with students. For the company, it allows them to make critical early connections with talent and get the edge over the competition. For students, it gives them valuable face time with potential future employers.

Similarly, attending local and regional job fairs is a key hiring event for recruiters. These fairs bring together companies, recruiters, and job seekers all in one place, allowing for networking, screening, interviews, and often on-the-spot job offers. They are organized events that unite dozens or hundreds of employers to connect with talent. Companies will send teams of recruiters to staff their booths, network with candidates, collect resumes, conduct mini-interviews, and more. For local fairs, there may be a day of travel. However, larger regional fairs often require significant travel and overnight stays. The investment is worth it, as job fairs help companies find qualified candidates efficiently.

The Various Types of Business Travel Are Worth Attending

In an era where technology dominates, face-to-face interactions through business travel remain vital for fostering relationships and seizing opportunities. The resurgence of post-pandemic travel signifies its enduring significance, exemplified by conferences, trade shows, sales trips, client meetings, and hiring events. These diverse forms of travel aren’t just expenses; they’re strategic investments that fortify connections, foster trust, and drive business growth, underscoring their irreplaceable role in today’s corporate landscape.

If you plan on attending such business trips, ITILITE assists in arranging your accommodations and flights. Our services encompass personalized booking solutions and continuous corporate travel assistance. Our cutting-edge travel management software also enables you to book flights and hotels within just 90 seconds.

Book a free demo with ITILITE to know how its advanced features help you with a seamless booking process.