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Conferences and events a key reason for SME travel

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Conferences and events a key reason for SME travel
New research shows small and medium sized businesses expect to keep travelling even as the economic outlook sags.

Flight Centre Travel Group’s Corporate Traveller arm surveyed 255 SME owners and decision-makers and found that 91 per cent will continue to travel through at least the end of this calendar year, even though global economic growth projections are expected to remain significantly subdued for the next two years.

And the second top reason for travel was to attend conferences and events, with 32 per cent of respondents saying they would continue to travel for business events. Only visiting other company sites was a bigger motivator for travel.

“SMEs have always operated boldly and bravely, and despite ongoing concerns over the economy, they haven’t let uncertainty cloud their business decisions,” said Corporate Traveller’s global managing director, Tom Walley.

“They recognise the key to continuing to operate and even thrive is to build sales, unlock new partnerships, and expand their network – and business travel provides excellent opportunities for that.

“As well as continuing to travel, we were pleased to see so many companies still had the economic confidence to attend conferences and events, which requires additional financial outlay, beyond flights and accommodation. Those activities are excellent for networking, learning, and a great opportunity to work toward business growth.

“The results demonstrate that companies recognise there’s a bounty of opportunities for Australian businesses which still invest in corporate travel, whether its team building, attending international conferences, or an exciting incentive or reward for staff.” 

The results also show the value placed on face-to-face interactions by SMEs, with 20 per cent citing travel as necessary to meet in person with stakeholders and 17 per cent saying travel was necessary because face-to-face meeting were more effective than virtual meetings.

However, only 10 per cent of respondents said that they would continue travel as a way to engage staff.

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