Appropriate Business Travel: When it’s Necessary – and When it’s NOT

By | November 10, 2011

An essential bulk of every company’s budget is the appropriation for travels. It has become a major necessity among companies to set aside a portion of its income for travel expenditures that may or may not be consumed within each fiscal year. This travel budget is just as important as marketing funds and other operational expenses. Company personnel are expected to travel several times within a year and these are always regarded as “official business”. However, there is the question of when business travel is really necessary. When is it not?


Business travels primarily serve the purpose of the following: attending business meetings (including but not limited to conferences, workshops, trainings, and workshops), meeting with potential clients, conducting ocular inspections, visiting business venues, and sometimes, going away for company outings. There are many other “official business” functions listed as qualified to be a legitimate business travel. Depending on how an employee or executive justifies the cost for the travel, these business travels can be approved or denied. Of course, business travel requested by executives is almost never denied; after all, they do head the company. And, it is understood that the trips they make are always for the benefit of the business. On the lower spectrum of the organizational chart, however, employees can request for business travel funding as well; but, of course, they don’t have the same luxury as most executives do. In a regular business setting, sales and marketing employees are often the ones who travel the most.


Business trips are deemed appropriate and necessary simply when the failure to attend or go to the destination is detrimental to the company’s interests. For instance, absence in an important conference or meeting or failure to meet with a potential client can be factors that will contribute to a company’s losses in the future. Multinational companies could have meetings practically anywhere in the world and the expenses can skyrocket. From plane fares to hotel accommodations, the travel expenditures are definitely not a joke. However, these expenses can still be overcome by potential income that may arise from successful meetings and new accounts gained. It is therefore necessary to fund these trips.


Road shows and marketing events are a great way to expose a business venture and let target consumers know of a business’s presence and promotional schemes. These road shows, exhibits, and expos are events where specific business segments converge at one major location. Usually, these are attended by marketing personnel who are assigned booths wherein prospective buyers and customers are accommodated. Although these events are highly beneficial, they are not strictly necessary. They are not a matter of life and death for the company, so to speak. They won’t cause a company’s downfall.


With regard to what business travels are not necessary, the answer is simple: trips which present nothing more but losses to the company’s financial statement are absolutely unnecessary. Lavish company outings are impractical and must be avoided. While company outings and teambuilding activities are important in the aspect of developing human resources, these ventures have certain limitations. It is wise to choose locations that are cost effective; there’s no point in sending employees out of the country merely to have them bond in the hopes of making them more productive in the workplace. It’s the activity not the venue that will help a company achieve this. Incentive business trips can be something that a company can provide to its best personnel, but these must be done in moderation. For instance, one bonus business travel for the best employee once a year would be enough. It would be enough to inspire the colleagues and it won’t do much damage to the company’s budget.


About the guest post author: Tal Baron writes for Smart Meetings, a business destination guide for planning a San Diego convention.