In our pandemic times, business travel to visit clients and attend events has declined sharply. Even if the need for a business trip may face more questioning in the future - and virtual meetings offer an efficient alternative - I am convinced that the need for personal connections will return! How can we establish sustainable mobility for business travel, both privately and as a company? For example, consolidating trips might become common practice.
I try to avoid air travel in Europe, even though I live in the flight path of Zurich Airport with its excellent connections. I am convinced that distances exceeding 1,000 kilometers can be covered comfortably by night train and long-distance connections. The travel time provides an opportunity for undisturbed working time or rest in the sleeping car. I have experienced many inspiring moments and generated new ideas during train journeys, in contrast to the stress I have experienced at airports and on planes.
On business trips, I am often asked whether I’d like to take the last flight in the evening to get back in time to see my family. Of course, a sustainable approach to travel requires more time in most cases, and correspondingly less time at home. But there are some tricks to make up for it. For example, I can interrupt my return trip in Frankfurt at a hotel for the night and then take the first train back home the next morning, and still enjoy breakfast with my family, on time and fully relaxed. Or why not enjoy dinner in a foreign country and start the return journey on a night train? I might be missing out on a small amount of family time, but my three children are also grateful to me that their dad travelled in a climate-friendly way by train.
My colleagues at FAIRTIQ also apply the approaches described. As an employer, we are prepared to bear the cost of extra meals and hotels, even if "cheap flights" would be a more "startup-friendly” option. This means that we actually place a greater weight on ecology than money, in line with the urgent need to address climate change. In addition, we offset our CO2 emissions in high-quality myclimate carbon offset projects and set targeted incentives by offering discounts on employees’ private trips by public transport. We know that compensation is not the end of it, and that emissions should be avoided altogether if possible, but we are trying to set an example and striving to constantly minimize these emissions.
I would be delighted if Europe-wide business travel were to increasingly shift from air to rail over the next few years. The race is on!
My favorite travel tools:
- The Half-fare card in Switzerland and the famous FAIRTIQ App!
- BahnCard 25, 1st class, very good price/performance ratio especially for special fares (but I often travel in second class for a change)
- My personal booking profile at ÖBB NightJet, the leading provider of night train connections in Europe
- The Revolut App for contactless payments and favorable exchange rates Swiss Franc and EURO
- Booking.com, a meta search engine for offers. But I also book my favourite hotels directly.
- Noise-cancelling headphones
- My Cycle Bag backpack, who needs a rolling suitcase nowadays ? Travel light means travel lighter!
Who is Reto?:
Reto Schmid, Director Business Development, is responsible for the growth into new markets at FAIRTIQ together with his team. He is married, father of three children and lives in a car-free housing cooperative in the north of Zurich.