According to research conducted by Roy Morgan, 2.3 million Australians travelled by air for business purposes in 2016. How can SMBs take advantage of these travel experiences to benefit their business?
According to small business and personal finance expert David Koch, travel is a terrific way for business owners to get an edge on their competition.
“Travel provides fantastic opportunities for business owners to learn how to communicate in different ways. Experiencing new cultures can have a profound effect. It can provide inspiration and introduce you to new ways of doing business.”
As the host of Sunrise, Chairman of Port Adelaide Football Club and founder of growing media company, Pinstripe, Koch spends a lot of time on the road and in the air. But he’s not alone in this trend.
In April 2017 Smart Company’s annual survey found 46 per cent of business owners travel domestically and 28 per cent internationally, up to five times a year.
Admittedly, digital transformation has made connecting with customers, staff and suppliers easier than ever. While video conferencing is great for every-day transactions, but when it comes to setting up a strategy or entering into a partnership nothing beats a face-to-face meeting.
“Of course, it can be tempting to Skype a call rather than make the effort of a face-to-face meeting,” Koch says. “But the benefits of being on the ground and making that connection can be crucial. Especially if you are looking to expand your business into a new territory.”
Koch is a big believer that international travel can benefit a business owner. In 2017 he launched the first ‘Secrets to Doing Business in China’ conference in conjunction with Port Adelaide and AustCham Shanghai. The event saw hundreds of small business owners fly to China to attend the forum to hear from expert speakers on how to do business with our Eastern neighbours.
“There is no better way to understand another nation’s business practices than to immerse yourself in their local culture,” Koch explains. “You can’t do that from your office in Australia, you need to get out on the ground. International travel can help you better understand and launch into new markets.”
Of course, travelling for business often means you are travelling alone, and Koch highlights this as another opportunity.
“Travel is great for resilience. Learning to navigate unfamiliar places, coping with language barriers, getting lost… How you meet these challenges can deliver powerful lessons.”
Travel is also a great source of inspiration. “Visiting another country, whether for business or pleasure can really open your eyes to new possibilities. You might see different ways to connect with your customers. Or observe trends that haven’t yet arrived in Australia that you can then capitalise on for your business.”
Time management is another valuable by-product of travel. According to Koch, the more you travel the better you get at time management.
“Travel is all about schedules, from getting to the airport on time, to making the time to see local attractions when on a business trip. The more you do it the more it translates to skills you can use in your business,” he explains.
Koch says today it’s easier than ever for business owners to travel. Simply making use of business travel programs and a charge card linked to a rewards card can help ensure small businesses are benefitting from additional perks such as complimentary lounge passes, travel insurance and sometimes, additional frequent flyer points.
“Point hacking is another way small business owners can profit from travel. Especially if they have a business rewards card that allows them to transfer rewards points to staff and family members.”
The way Koch tells it, businesses that aren’t travelling are missing out.
“If you do have the opportunity to travel, do it. Life happens when you step outside your comfort zones. Travel enriches you as a person, it inspires the entrepreneurial spirit and teaches you leadership and resilience. That’s a big benefit to you and your business.”
- TRIPLE Qantas Points for business on eligible Qantas flights~
- 1.25 Qantas Points*per dollar spent on everyday purchases, and
- 2 Qantas Points on eligible Qantas services and products*.
Plus, when you apply by 4 February 2019 and spend $3,000 in the first two months, you’ll receive 100,000 bonus Qantas Points**.
Annual Card fee $450. American Express approval criteria applies. Cards are offered, issued and administered by American Express Australia Limited (ABN 92 108 952 085)
This article is sponsored by American Express in conjunction with Kochie’s Business Builders.
~ A business must be a Qantas Business Rewards Member to earn triple Qantas Points for business. Triple Qantas Points for business are only available for American Express Qantas Card Member when the Card is used to make an eligible Qantas flight booking. An eligible flight means a domestic or international flight which has a Qantas ‘QF’ flight number on the ticket that is purchased in Australia; is operated by Qantas, Emirates or American Airlines; has a ticket number commencing with ‘081’; and is booked and travelled for business on or after the date the business registers for Qantas Business Rewards. A Member’s ABN and traveller’s Qantas Frequent Flyer number must be quoted at the time of booking to earn Qantas Points for both the business and the traveller. Qantas will allocate 3 times the number of Qantas Points to the business under the Qantas Business Rewards Airline Reward Scheme terms and conditions. The maximum number of Qantas Points that can be earned from flying by a business with the American Express Qantas Business Rewards Card is 4,000,000 per membership year as per the Triple Qantas Points for business benefit terms and conditions.
* A business must be a Qantas Business Rewards Member to earn Qantas Points for business. Membership and the earning of Qantas Points as a business are subject to the Qantas Business Rewards Terms and Conditions. Points are earned in accordance with and subject to the American Express Qantas Business Rewards Card Points Terms and Conditions. Your business will earn 1.25 Qantas Points per $1 of everyday spend, which does not include annual fees, late payment fee, fees and charges for travellers cheques and foreign currencies. Your business will earn 0.5 Qantas Points per $1 spent at participating merchants classified as “utilities” including gas, water and electricity providers; “government” including the Australian Taxation Office, the Australian Postal Corporation, federal/state and local government bodies; and “insurance” excluding insurances offered by American Express. Your business will earn 2 Qantas Points per $1 spent on the following Qantas Products and Services purchased on the Qantas merchant account (i.e. directly from Qantas): Qantas passenger flights (with a QF flight number), Qantas Holidays, Qantas Branded non-airfare products, and Qantas Frequent Flyer and Qantas Club membership joining and annual fees. Excludes Jetstar. For the full list of exclusions, please refer to the American Express Qantas Business Rewards Card Points Terms and Conditions.
** Offer only available to new American Express Card Members who apply by 4th February 2019, are approved and spend $3,000 on their new Card in the first 2 months from the Card approval date. Card Members who currently hold or who have previously held any other Card product issued by American Express Australia Limited in the preceding 18 month period are ineligible for this offer. Previous and existing bank-issued American Express companion Card Members are eligible for this offer (cards issued by: Australia New Zealand Banking Group Limited, Commonwealth Bank of Australia, National Australia Bank, Westpac Banking Corporation). 100,000 bonus Qantas Points will be awarded to the eligible Card Member’s account 8-10 weeks after the spend criteria has been met. This advertised offer is not applicable or valid in conjunction with any other advertised or promotional offer. Subject to the American Express Qantas Business Rewards Card Points Terms and Conditions