To Travel or Not to Travel, That Is the Question

“Person-to-person contact is the lubricant that prevents jams in the cogwheels of selling and buying.”


Business means travel or at least meant travel for a high percentage of people who work in toys and consumer products. Before the pandemic, some of us were in the air close to every week of the year, while others traveled monthly or quarterly. We are an international business, so many of us also flew to Hong Kong, China, Viet Nam, and Europe.

Things are getting somewhat back to normal (keep your fingers crossed), so the prospect of flying will become once again part of our lives. It seems, however, that many corporations are rethinking the need for travel.

I found an interesting article on the subject on the website Axios. Written by Erica Pandey, in her article, “Business travel might be going out of style,” it tells us:

Companies have made it a year and a half mostlywithout traveling for work — and now more and more of them are considering dramatically reducing business travel to slash costs and cut carbon emissions.

Ms. Pandey points out that air travel is currently running at only 30% of 2019’s levels. It’s expected to stay there.

The cutbacks are taking the form of sending fewer people. For example, The Toy Association’s Steve Pasierb told me that toy companies have reduced the number of employees they are sending to Dallas. It’s too early to know by how much, but it could be as much as 25%.

Companies are also turning to computer screens rather than airplanes to bring their employees together. Still, person-to-person engagement is vital in building intercompany relationships, resolving problems, and selling new products. A salesperson’s presence is vital in building rapport, reading body language, and making “the big sale.” They need to be there.

Physically being there is a competitive advantage. So, I think companies will cut back on travel until they lose to a competitor who got the business because they made the trip.

Person-to-person contact is the lubricant that prevents jams in the cogwheels of selling and buying. Business travel will come back.

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