No business can survive without customers and clients and for many businesses trustworthy and reliable suppliers are equally important.
While internet research, trade associations and brochures may be a good source of initial research or information there is generally no substitute for actually speaking to people face to face.
Perhaps this explains the enduring appeal of the seasonal trade fairs and business exhibitions, most of which begin their annual cycle in the spring.
While of course, every business will do its utmost to create attractive and alluring displays and stands the business exhibition can be the most cost effective way of making contacts or sourcing potential suppliers and partners all in one place.
It can be a competitive and high-pressure environment but it does at least allow people to meet, gather information and do some more in-depth research before going onto the next step, which may be going to the chosen prospects’ premises and getting to know more about their culture and operation.
Similarly for those in retail and consumer businesses, competition means sourcing the new, the unusual and the latest highest quality products, from toys to seasonal gifts to furniture so that the stock is ready and available at peak seasonal buying times.
Quite often this will mean visiting the trade fairs months in advance to allow for ordering, production and delivery.
Drive yourself or use a driver?
It has been predicted that much business travel would become unnecessary due to the rise of video conferencing and while it is true that average business mileage has been reducing, according to the RAC, company cars have an annual mileage more than double that of private cars (18,900 compared to 7,500 in 2016).
Often there is really no substitute for actual physical travel.
However, people are increasingly expected to work while on the move, to answer their mobile phones, their emails, write reports on laptops on the train or plane.
But if driving to the location of a fair or exhibition is necessary or more convenient this cuts down on the time available to carry out tasks in transit.
It may be worth considering the costs of driving, fuel, parking and lost hours when compared with the fare for being driven in comfort door to door and having that extra time to catch up on the “paperwork” – or even just have some time to sit back, think and plan ahead.