Advances in technology have made international business easier than ever to carry out from home soil; however, face-to-face interactions remain valuable to building successful relationships meaning that even in a globally connected environment, international travel remains a key component of both establishing and strengthening business ties. We've outlined some top tips to help make business travel more seamless.
Be up to date on the travel requirements
Business travel may be a normal occurrence these days, but for those in the UK, it's important to understand how Brexit could impact international travel. From freedom of movement and passport validity, to customs and business insurance - being up to date on all these areas will mean businesses don't get caught out.
Brush up on business etiquette
Whether travelling for business or pleasure, cultural appropriateness is one of the most important factors to get right. Observing the unique practices of other markets avoids causing offence or embarrassment and safeguards the relationship. Research the most common and polite greetings and make sure you're acquainted with the etiquette for everyday business situations, such as swapping business cards. In Japan, for instance, the Western practice of receiving a business card and pocketing it immediately would be deemed as rude. Instead, you should survey the card carefully and even pose a question in order to show interest.
Meanwhile in China, it is customary to provide a small gift to your business partners. While it may not be possible to fully grasp a new language, mastering a few key phrases demonstrates respect and forethought, which are likely to get things off on the right foot. The style of business meetings might also differ between markets.
In Germany, for example, conferences tend to be very rigid in their structure and are not filled with social chatter, which is considered unprofessional. In contrast, other countries in Europe, such as Italy, embrace a more casual work environment. A little research into these nuances can go a long way towards building positive working relationships across the globe.
Know your payment options
Having a well-rounded idea of your destination's currency exchange rate is another aspect to consider. This is particularly important with uncertainly surrounding the UK's exit from Europe causing ongoing fluctuation of the pound. Paying for necessary services and keeping within a budget will be far more straightforward if you are informed on the most up to date information and understand the options available when completing a card purchase.
Some business travellers may find opting to pay in their home currency, via Dynamic Currency Conversion, a more effective and convenient way to track expenses and stay within budget as it means the exchange rate is calculated at the point of purchase. In doing so, business travellers can track their spending more closely and won't be faced with a difficult conversation with the finance department when they return.