2019 in Review: Trends in SME Business Travel

2019 in Review: Trends in SME Business Travel

It’s been a busy year. From the federal election and the findings of the financial services Royal Commission, to the ongoing drought and bushfires, there wouldn’t be many – if any – small and medium businesses (SMEs) that haven’t felt the effects of 2019.

Regardless, SMEs are a force to be reckoned with in Australia. Businesses with less than 20 employees make up close to 98% of all businesses, and small businesses contribute 35% of the country’s GDP and employ 44% of the workforce.

And travel forms a big part of the growth and success of SMEs. So, with the New Year almost here, we’re taking a look back at 2019 and three of the biggest trends we noticed in SME business travel throughout the year.

Travel manager meeting with client over coffee outside

Formalising travel policies

While businesses have rules around staff travel, many embraced putting them together and writing a travel policy this year. And they’re reaping the benefits.

Josh Grocke, National Account Management Team Leader at Flight Centre Business Travel says: “A travel policy can be instrumental in the success of a company’s business travel. We help all of our customers to build a travel policy and review regularly to determine if there are any opportunities for further cost savings.”

But while travel budgets and managing travel spending are important, there are more reasons why businesses are formalising their travel policy.

“More than ever the safety and security of staff is a consideration for businesses. Booking specific hotels or using preferred airlines and car hire companies ensures businesses can align themselves with trusted brands and better manage staff movements to mitigate risk,” says Kimberly Hamilton, an Account Manager at Flight Centre Business Travel.

Linda almo milk melbourne backdrop

Traveling for business growth

This year there was a real sense of understanding the importance of travelling for work and the impact that it can have on the growth of a business.

The benefit of travel on business growth is something that Almo Milk founder Linda Monique found out first-hand, when she won the Flight Centre Business Travel Corporate Travel Grant in 2018.

“For me, travel is one of the most important parts of our business in the sense of meeting customers face-to-face; it changes the dynamic of a business relationship. It was important for us to build on those relationships as a start-up,” says Linda.

With an extra $15,000 in her travel budget thanks to the grant, Linda was able to increase exposure for her business and product in Australia and internationally, resulting in a 200% increase in online sales across Australia and Asia.

scaling a business with limited resources - bondi sands founders - flight centre business travel

Leaving travel management to the experts

The return on investment for business travel is around $12.50 for every dollar spent, so it’s an important business expense. The continued growth of companies like Flight Centre Business Travel is proving that more SMEs are leaving their travel management to experts so they can focus on building their business.

Outsourcing work that isn’t an area of expertise is something that has helped Shaun Wilson, managing director and co-founder of FCBT client, Bondi Sands, to scale his start-up into the number-one selling product in its category and break into the US market.

Shaun says: “Surround yourself with the best people, experts from their business function that share similar values as you. At the start up level you may not have the finances to employ people therefore outsourcing to the correct people / function is key for your initial success.”

Businessman with Coffee

Here’s to 2020

Was your business travel on trend in 2019? Keep up and make the most of the evolving world of SME corporate travel by outsourcing your travel management to Flight Centre Business Travel and have a successful 2020.

Statistics from the Australian Government.

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