What is Corporate Travel?

April 14, 2022
Daniel Leon Stern

Did you know that 20% of trips worldwide fall under the business category? Or that business travel is the second-largest expense after staff salaries?

Corporate travel has become an essential part of today’s organizations. While technological advancements, such as virtual meetings are making waves in the corporate world, many organizations still rely on face-to-face meetings and offline networking.

In fact, according to our New York Travel Barometer, corporate ground transportation is bouncing back.  In March 2022, ride volumes were 42% of 2019 Tri-State Ground Travel with our predictions estimating continued growth and strengthening of business travel due to the removal of COVID-19 restrictions, and renewed enthusiasm for in-person meetings.

What Is Corporate Travel?

Corporate travel refers to trips employees and entrepreneurs take for work-related purposes. This may include, for example, an employee attending a business conference or visiting a project site for evaluation.

Unlike other travel types, corporate travel doesn’t include leisure trips, holidays, or daily commutes. In most cases, employees travel purposely to fulfill a business obligation.

Who Is a Corporate Traveler?

A corporate traveler is anyone involved in corporate travel. This could be employees, senior executives, or even the business owner.

A corporate traveler will typically spend more than one night at the travel destination and will almost always require hotel accommodation

What Is Corporate Travel Management?

As the name suggests, corporate travel management is the process of controlling, tracking, and reporting on an organization’s travel-related expenses.

Corporate travel can be managed by an in-house travel manager or an external travel agency. If a business opts for an in-house travel manager, the manager oversees all aspects of corporate travel, including creating policies and optimizing travel spend.

It’s important to note that corporate travel management does not only entail creating policies and booking flights. It encompasses all aspects of travel, including the logistical, financial, and security aspects of the travel.

Types of Corporate Travel

People travel on business for various reasons, from business meetings and conferences to attending trade shows and more.

With that in mind, not all trips have the same purpose or objectives, as each is carried out for different reasons. Below, we’ll briefly explain the various types of corporate travel typical in the modern business world.

  1. Event and Conference Travel

Many organizations send their employees to corporate events and conferences.

These may include seminars, workshops, or networking sessions. These trips aim to offer professional learning and development while facilitating networking with peers, experts, potential clients, and service providers.

  1. Trade Fairs

Trade fairs, also known as trade shows, trade expositions, or trade exhibitions, are key selling channels for many organizations.

These exhibitions are usually organized so that companies in a specific industry can showcase their products, services, or innovation. Trade shows are an effective tool for boosting sales, creating brand awareness, and building customer relationships.

  1. Client Meetings

Even though virtual meetings are the new trend in the corporate space, many clients still prefer face-to-face meetings, especially when negotiating a high-value deal. Where face-to-face meetings are required, executives may need to travel to meet the clients or prospects.

  1. Company Retreats

A company retreat is an event the entire company attends that’s out of the office environment and mostly not work-related.

Corporate retreats are an excellent way for employees to relax, bond, and build a company culture through shared activities. Some companies choose to hold retreats once per year and others after surpassing some set performance goals.

  1. Internal Meetings

Some multinational companies with offices in multiple locations can choose to hold meetings in one of their key branches. In such cases, employees and senior executives may need to travel to the designated offices, probably for a few days if the meeting is held overseas.

  1. Incentive Travel

Incentive travel is a business-related trip designed to motivate, incentivize, or reward employees. It could be awarded to a single employee or a team and is usually made available after hitting business targets.

An organization can use incentive travel as a networking opportunity, team-building experience, or simply as a reward for those who have earned it.

  1. Technical Trip

Technical trips involve a technician traveling to one of the business offices or project sites to fix a technical hitch or review a project’s status. Employees might also be given a technical trip to attend an inauguration of a new facility or study new networking methods at the company’s headquarters.

Who is Involved in Corporate Travel?

In most organizations, the corporate travel docket is managed by the travel manager.

A travel manager is an in-house employee who manages the travel program and all the travel aspects of the organization. Depending on the size of the organization, there might be more than one travel manager. Typically, the core duties of a travel manager include:

  • Planning, developing, and implementing travel policy
  • Preparing travel expense reports and handling reimbursements
  • Providing advice on travel-related matters
  • Managing relationships with vendors and travel agencies
  • Ensuring compliance in all aspects of travel procedures
  • Negotiating rates and contracts with service providers
  • Assisting in all travel-related matters


Apart from the travel manager, there are other stakeholders who assist in managing the travel processes. Depending on the size of your company, the travel manager may collaborate with the CEO, head of operations, office manager, CFO, or finance managers.

When developing travel management processes, the travel manager may work with a team consisting of senior executives and a panel of frequent employee travelers.

Why Automation Is Important

A few years ago, companies relied on travel agencies to manage all their travel-related tasks, from bookings to transportation.

Thanks to technology and the way we book travel products, today’s corporate travelers expect a smooth, streamlined experience facilitated by intuitive, easy-to-use software solutions. To that end, many organizations are opting for in-housing travel managers rather than outsourcing the role to third parties.

Forward-thinking companies are discovering that automation can simplify their processes, saving time and money while unlocking new growth opportunities.

What’s more, automation can improve visibility into how and where their money is spent.

Take HQ SummitGround and HQ corporate shuttles for example.  Our service allows you to book all your rides from one platform while giving you full control and visibility of your spending. With HQ mobility solutions, you can get reports and generate real-time data on your ongoing rides. Plus, you can track, process, and report all transportation expenses in one place with payment integration. This simplifies travel expense management, which has historically proven difficult to control.

Wrapping Up

Corporate travel is an essential part of any modern organization. Companies are increasingly becoming aware of the importance of hiring an in-house travel manager to oversee the travel docket. These professionals can help your organization implement travel management best practices and play a critical role in automating the travel processes, and with automation comes streamlined workflows and cost and time savings.

Want to see how HQ can support your business?
Leave your info and we'll get in touch