How to define an Essential Travel
Since the arrival of Covid, companies have managed to adapt by traveling less while keeping an equivalent level of business. For these companies, this is good news in terms of expenditure and CSR, and it allows companies to meet societal and environmental requirements that will allow them to be labeled. Some labels, such as the B Corp label, allow companies to access economic aid and improve their brand image.
For the actors of the "business travel" ecosystem the result is more ambivalent, we note a decrease of their activities of 60% on the year 2020 and hope to reach an equal activity the year 2019 during 2026. With this observation, it is obvious for the companies of this sector that it is time to rethink their ways of doing and to implement new practices that will not deteriorate their core business or their results. This is where the essential travel is born.
For the essential travel, there is no universal recipe, but it is necessary to have a travel methodology that will change for each company. Each company will set up its methodology according to its culture, the technology at its disposal, its industry and its customer acquisition method. The methodology will even vary within the same company depending on the teams, for example a sales team will be more likely to travel. This is why it is important to objectify your trips according to the importance of the meeting and the need for it to be done face-to-face. To do this, you must take into account the reason for the trip, the duration of the stay, the cost of the trip and its carbon impact.
Thanks to our expertise and the data collected from our 300 partner companies and our 10,000 unique employees, we have developed a 4-step methodology that will serve as a model for all companies. This methodology is centered around two axes, the essentiality for the company and the dependence of the meeting for the human relations.
With this methodology, we can group the trips into 4 categories:
- Cultural : This quadrant is largely represented by small group meetings, often internal to the company. A solution here is to define a time when a maximum number of people are present in the company's premises to avoid travel solely for this purpose. In the case where some people cannot travel, if it is possible for these actors to follow it remotely without losing efficiency, it can be a good alternative
- Essential : This axis will focus on external relationships, it is generally difficult to replace a physical contact without impacting the relationship maintained with the interlocutor. This is the most difficult point to regulate, the only solution would be to cumulate meetings with several actors in a close sector to avoid future round trips
- To be limited : In this quadrant, we are talking about cases where the need for a meeting is low compared to the contribution for the company. The simplest solution to replace these trips with technology, the contact becomes less authentic but it will save the company time, money and reduce its carbon emissions. In the long run, it is the travel that is most likely to disappear in favor of technology
- Opportunistic : The travel use cases that fall into this quadrant are difficult to replace with technology, but considered less important to the success of many companies. Examples include travel to trade shows or to monitor on-site operations, one solution would be to limit the number of people traveling for these activities. Travel should be opportunistic in this quadrant, to be handled on a case-by-case basis, with decisions decentralized to managers.
To ensure that these practices are as effective as possible and correctly applied, three main principles must be followed.
- Establish criteria with the teams to estimate the need for travel for each person
- List the tools capable of ensuring the new company policy (e.g.: flexible validation workflows indexed on these essentiality criteria)
- Monitoring and analysis of the measures implemented, a calculation by team would be even more effective (cost reduction, reduction of carbon emissions, saving time for employees)
Another resource that might be useful to you is our article on "Our selection of the best companies for carbon offsetting".
Our experts are here to help. If you'd like to discuss how to travel more responsibly in more detail, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we'll find a convenient time to chat.