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Corporate Travel Is Coming Back

Introduction

For the past two years, travel restrictions around the world have blocked many businesses going as far as they’d like. Plenty of sectors, particularly those like technology, usually rack up plenty of miles during business hours. COVID-19 didn’t just delay the return to the days when companies book plane tickets to all kinds of relevant events throughout the year, but has fundamentally changed how the corporate world approaches travel.

Variants and mandates have significantly reduced travel, but has not eliminated it completely. Business in particular still need to go cross-country for work all the time. We’re integrating work-from-home practices into the usual office schedule, hosting big events and meeting up to network once again. Still the fact remains that the business world will have to reckon with entirely new travel expectations, not just for right now, but for as long as they stay operational.

Why Tech Businesses Need Travel

The infosec industry tends to fly back and forth for work a lot. This is due to a variety of causes, like:

  1. Conferences, seminars and similar events

  2. Networking opportunities

  3. Learning about industry trends and better business practices

  4. Partnership opportunities

  5. Sales opportunities

  6. Partially returning from the WFH structure

Face-to-face meetings are important for cybersecurity professionals. It breeds invention when great minds get into a room together, and there’s a certain personable charm that’s difficult to replicate over a computer screen. Some workers are understandably chomping at the bit to fly down to those huge conferences where they can connect with likeminded individuals in the industry, especially after two years of going without these crucial connections.

What’s New In Corporate Travel

Many cybersecurity professionals are undoubtedly excited to get back out there – but not all of them. Just as many people remain nervous about the prospect of returning to large indoor conference rooms and coming in contact with hundreds, if not thousands, of people. These concerns are only compounded by the ununiform mask and vaccine requirements from one state to the next, and even between nearby cities.

As a result, a good return on investment is increasingly important when it comes to traveling, especially by plane. Is there a good reason, some tangible financial benefit, to people attending these events?

Some possible ROI to consider includes:

  1. Acquiring leads

  2. Onboarding new clients

  3. Making sales from goods and services

Managers should strongly consider the benefits of traveling before undertaking the financial burden, viral risks and time expended going there. It may very well be that this is still a viable opportunity, but in some cases, staying remote is the better way to go.

A New Corporate Culture

Many businesses are leaning into these changes. Virtual events were necessary in 2020 and 2021, but many have now seen the benefits and seek to continue the practice moving forward. Alternatively, smaller conferences are also more commonplace than they were before the pandemic. Local and regional events are smaller, but in some ways more personal for it. They cost less to attend and travel there, and in many ways makes it easier to get to know the other attendees better.

Traveling to big events is often a needless expenditure in this tightened economy, especially if the same goals can be achieved online or at a more local conference space. Public transport also presents a greater risk of spreading COVID-19, which aside from the personal consequences, also creates a huge risk for businesses if even one valuable employee has to call out sick for weeks.

When events can be done just as effectively online, there’s been a push from employees to follow that path. Personal safety is a huge roadblock to corporate travel these days; more and more often, employees are not comfortable making the trip and are flat out refusing to do so. This marks a change in the corporate culture that is unlikely to disappear, at least not anytime soon.

That’s especially true when it comes to the younger generations. And it’s not just the pandemic that has them wary; concerns about the climate are also preventing more and more people from opting for flying unless it’s strictly necessary. Particularly if you employ, connect to and partner with younger generations, considering the real ROI of traveling versus local or virtual events matters.

Conclusion

For the foreseeable future, the lowered inclination toward corporate travel will continue. Unless there are clear reasons why going far to big events would materially benefit the company, much of the technology sector are opting to go a cheaper and safer route instead. Since these habits are projected to continue – especially as the “new normal” looks increasingly permanent – it’s something to consider as you’re making business decisions and booking events in 2022.

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