Add family to the trip

By Gill South

While business trips traditionally mean solo jaunts of all work and little play, there's a growing trend towards taking the family along - and it can make good financial sense. If one adult fare and the accommodation is sorted, it can be relatively inexpensive to add the family to the trip. If you're a frequent flyer, airpoints trim the cost even further.

Adam Berry, owner operator of Auckland's Orbit Travel, House of Travel's corporate travel arm, says combining business with leisure is becoming so popular he's set up a corporate leisure team to help clients.

"There's a pattern of taking less leave, so large amounts of leave accumulates and it becomes an HR concern," says Berry. And as people take less holidays they get run down - however passionate they are about their jobs.

"Business people are travelling more than ever before and rather than coming back and making additional plans to travel with the family, it's easier to take them over at the same time as making the business trip."

Some companies actively encourage managers to add holiday to their work trips by offering travel vouchers at bonus time of $5000 to $10,000, says Berry.

Other organisations give staff a budget for any destination. If they decide to forgo travelling business class and take the family, the firm is happy to accommodate that and there can be an upside for the company.

The business trip might be spread over nine days rather than three, so the client being visited is faced with a less harried, pressured contact.

Gerard Murphy, director of upmarket e-travel.co.nz, says some companies will contribute to a spouse travelling to meet up with a staff member by paying a portion of the trip.

He regularly organises holidays on top of business trips and finds his clients, many of them company owners, will tack a family holiday on to a trip and are happy for senior staff to do so too. A portion will be charged to the company and the rest is paid for personally. On one trip a couple travelled business class while the children and the nanny went economy.

So where are people choosing to take their families? Disneyland in California is still a favourite family destination and Europe is another business/holiday hot spot. Executives working in Hong Kong or Singapore often meet up with family and head to Vietnam.

Christine Sheppard, manager of Best United Travel, says another favourite is adding a cruise to a European business trip.

- Detours, HoS

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