The quest for meaning in business travel: a question of balance

Since the beginning of the pandemic, business travel has been challenged in a profound and systemic way. The relationship to travel, to displacement itself, has changed.

Today, the quest for meaning is palpable, and companies must consider their travel policies from several angles. It is a question of finding the right balance between costs, work flexibility, sustainable objectives, safety and the well-being of employees.


The exercise is perilous, since in a word, and without wishing to bring us back to more fatal considerations, it is a question of determining what is essential and what is not.


Economic impact

The evidence is clear, not moving around any more makes it possible to save a lot of money in the short term. In times of crisis, the cash flow generated in this way is not neutral in the financial health of a company. The temptation is therefore great to continue along this path and to continue to reduce the number of trips made by employees. In a study carried out by the Bloomberg agency, the majority of the 45 managers questioned announced their intention to make savings of between 20 and 40% on travel budgets.


However, it would be wrong to assume that the top management of a company has only a short-term vision. The situation of business travel in recent months cannot be sustainable. The consequences and losses in the medium and especially the long term are huge. This ranges from the loss of influence to the loss of contracts, from the lack of commercial prospection to the image of the company among its employees and future recruits.


The trend is therefore for companies to optimize business travel in order to meet market requirements as well as the viability of their structure. Although it is less recurrent, business travel aims to become more responsible in the sense that the question of the added value it brings to the company will henceforth be systematically asked.

Social impact

The social impact, another aspect of a stable CSR approach, has taken on a whole new dimension today. Employee safety, which is the responsibility of the company and which was already highly structured, has been enhanced by a health aspect that has become a sine qua non condition for travel. Thus, the travel manager's role since the pandemic has been strengthened in its legitimacy. This has been accompanied by the creativity of suppliers in the sector who have been able to innovate in order to adapt to new needs.

Alternative digital tools and enforced teleworking have naturally reduced the need for business travel. They allow a new understanding of the relationship with work. Not all employees, for various reasons, are ready to go back on the road. After many months of isolation, it is nevertheless necessary to note that the benefits of face-to-face business meetings are manifold. In particular, this makes it possible to establish relationships beyond the strict professional aspect, which will make it possible to create a climate of trust that is essential for the successful completion of projects.

Once again, companies must find the right balance to combine well-being and safety. The possible measurement of the essential nature or not of a journey becomes an issue to be considered according to several criteria.

Ecological impact


Reducing the carbon footprint is an important step in initiating a CSR approach. Travel policies are revised to this end. To assist in this process, the company can rely on tools that will help companies and employees make better choices in their decision making.

Although teleworking and the use of video conferencing may appear to be a solution to the carbon footprint, they are far from being neutral and it would be illusory to see them as sustainable solutions. Here again, the question of balance and nuance must be at the heart of the reflection. Making a combination of business travel and videoconferencing also means asking the question of how we travel and the choices to be made in order to do so in a reasonable way.



FCM Travel accompanies you in your quest for meaning...

FCM Travel continues to innovate in order to provide companies with the best possible support. Thanks to FCM Travel Necessary, an account management programme, FCM offers to employees and travel managers a solution to determine, according to precise criteria and set up in a collegial manner, if the business trip they wish to organise is necessary or not.