UK SMEs are reaping the benefits of going on international business trips and winning new business as a result. Research¹ from the British Airways American Express® Accelerating Business Card has found nearly two thirds (62%) of UK SME leaders have taken international business trips in the past two years and more than a quarter (27%) of these leaders have won a new contract on their trip.
SME leaders are prioritising building relationships with overseas contacts that could potentially grow revenue. The top three reasons for UK SME leaders to take part in an international business trip are attending an industry event or networking (38%), meeting an existing client face-to-face (38%) and meeting a potential client face-to-face (35%).
The company leaders that are doing business overseas are securing a return on their investment. The research found nearly half (48%) of UK SMEs leaders said their international trips improved relationships with an existing contact and 43% made a new business contact as a result of an international trip. Impressively, more than a quarter (28%) received an introduction to a new client.
Company leaders recognise there are barriers to overseas business travel. A quarter (25%) consider it to be too time-consuming and some (6%) do not see the value of face-to-face meetings. However, with SMEs demonstrating that face-to-face meetings can help win new business, the study demonstrates the power of the business trip.
Maximising travel time
A consideration when heading overseas on business is the time commitment to travelling. The research found the top three activities SME leaders undertake when they are in transit:
- Answering emails (53%)
- Relaxing (watching a film, reading a book) (42%)
- Doing day-to-day work (40%)
Less than a third (30%) of the SME leaders who attend international business trips maximise their travel time to think about the bigger picture and plan their company strategy.
Investing in international business trips
The research found less than a quarter (23%) of UK SME leaders use a business credit card which offers rewards or points to pay for international travel. A similar amount (22%) of company leaders instead choose to use a business credit card which is on a standard rate with no additional benefits. One in 10 (13%) use a personal credit card and 11% of UK SMEs use a personal debit card.
The British Airways American Express Accelerating Business Card is the only Business Credit Card that lets business owners earn both accelerated Avios and On Business Points, making it a fast way to turn company spend into travel rewards and savings.²
New Cardmembers will earn 60,000 Avios when they spend £5,000 or more in the first three months of Cardmembership.³
Not only that – you’ll earn 1.5 Avios for every £1 you spend and receive an annual bonus of 10,000 Avios for every £20,000 you spend in the calendar year, up to a total maximum of 30,000 Avios for £60,000 spent.⁴
At the same time as earning Avios, you’ll also get 2 On Business Points for every eligible £1 spent when you use your Card to book with British Airways.⁵
Find out more about the British Airways American Express® Accelerating Business Card, and how it could empower every business trip you take.
- Omnibus research was conducted by Opinium amongst 500 SME decision makers in companies that have 250 employees or less. Research was conducted between 23 and 30 September 2019.
- Representative Example: Representative APR: 96.7% APR variable; Credit limit: Assumed credit limit of £1,200; Purchase rate: 22.2% p.a. variable.
- The 60,000 Avios Welcome Bonus will be awarded once you have been approved and have spent and charged a minimum of £5,000 on goods and services to the Account within three months of Account opening. All introductory offers are subject to change and can be withdrawn at any time.
- Up to three times per calendar year (January to December), you will be awarded 10,000 Avios when you reach £20,000, £40,000 and £60,000 spend thresholds, up to a maximum of 30,000 Avios for reaching £60,000 of eligible spend.
- On Business Points are issued and redeemed subject to On Business Programme terms and conditions. Please refer to full benefit terms and conditions associated with your Card Account for all benefit eligibility criteria.