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“Face-to-face communication will always remain the gold standard” according to Corporate Traveller

By Shandel McAuliffe | |5 minute read
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Thirty eight per cent of SMEs feeling adverse business effects from COVID-19 think business travel will help with their recovery, according to a recent survey of 200 plus SME directors with businesses based in Australia.


Corporate Traveller, part of Flight Centre Travel Group, has released its report: Australia’s SME business sector recovery, SME Survey Series Report 2, May 2022 looking at how many Australian SME businesses were adversely affected by the pandemic, their anticipated timeframe for recovery, and what they think might help with that.

In conversation with HR Leader, Corporate Traveller global managing director Tom Walley shared why travel is important for work. He stated: “For many industries, travel is important for fuelling business growth. Face to face meetings, workshops, events, presentations and networking help to increase sales, build networks, improve stakeholder relationships and improve meeting outcomes.”

Mr Walley said that in-person liaison is the “gold standard”: “While video conferencing tools and other platforms have been useful over the past two years to keep teams connected and informed while they work remotely, allowing many SMEs to continue doing business, face-to-face communication will always remain the gold standard in human interaction.”

He concluded: “…resuming business travel will help the recovery of our business sector and enable businesses to thrive. Businesses need the freedom to grow without barriers to meeting with stakeholders. As travel bounces back to pre-pandemic levels, I look forward to seeing our customers expand into new markets, secure key business relationships and partnerships, and recruit and retain talent through face-to-face meetings and events.”

The top recovery “factors” cited in Australia's SME business sector recovery, SME Survey Series Report 2, May 2022 are as follows:

  • A recovery in the Australian economy (57 per cent).
  • A return to business travel (38 per cent).
  • Working from the office to boost employee engagement and productivity (36 per cent).
  • Recruiting better, or additional, talent (31 per cent).

At the time of the report’s release, Mr Walley stated: “Reinvigorating travel programs that were paused or investing more in travel this year will help drive sales and growth opportunities. As more countries open, businesses will also be able to recruit overseas talent and expand into new markets.”

He added: “Travel will be an important strategy for SMEs to consider in their recovery, whether they DIY their own travel or use a travel management provider to help navigate the new, complex environment.”

The full report can be found here: Australia’s SME business sector recovery, SME Survey Series Report 2, May 2022

Shandel McAuliffe

Shandel McAuliffe

Shandel has recently returned to Australia after working in the UK for eight years. Shandel's experience in the UK included over three years at the CIPD in their marketing, marcomms and events teams, followed by two plus years with The Adecco Group UK&I in marketing, PR, internal comms and project management. Cementing Shandel's experience in the HR industry, she was the head of content for Cezanne HR, a full-lifecycle HR software solution, for the two years prior to her return to Australia.

Shandel has previous experience as a copy writer, proofreader and copy editor, and a keen interest in HR, leadership and psychology. She's excited to be at the helm of HR Leader as its editor, bringing new and innovative ideas to the publication's audience, drawing on her time overseas and learning from experts closer to home in Australia.

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