As business travel increases, here’s how to stay connected to work.

Ciara O'Reilly
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On: 26 Sep 2019
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Roaming

The relatively small size of our domestic market means that for many Irish businesses, exports are the key to growing sales. That inevitably means business travel, but as more Irish companies diversify beyond their traditional markets, managing roaming arrangements for countries beyond the EU can be a significant extra cost and an administrative headache.

Last year, Ireland’s goods exports hit a record high of more than €140 billion. It’s not surprising that rates of business travel have been increasing, as companies send staff and management to meet sales prospects, strengthen existing customer relationships, close deals, implement projects, or collaborate with colleagues in other markets.

New destinations for Irish business travelers?

According to the CSO, Irish residents made 901,000 overseas business trips in 2018, up from 879,000 the year before and 817,000 in 2016. Total spending on overseas travel in 2018 was more than €7.5 billion.

Ireland’s top trade partners are the UK, the rest of the EU (particularly Germany, France, and the Netherlands), and the US, which consistently ranks as the country’s top service import and second-largest service import partner. Other Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) countries are also growing in importance.

As we recently covered, the uncertainty of Brexit is threatening one of Ireland’s most significant trading relationships. In a Three survey conducted over the summer for our upcoming Irish Business Mindset Report 2019, 29.7% of respondents said they plan to diversify or enter new markets as a way to capitalise on potential opportunities from Brexit. Enterprise Ireland is also seeing a high proportion of its client companies looking to new international markets as a result of Brexit. All of these trends are likely to mean even more business travel, to newer locations, in the years ahead. China was the top destination for Irish exporters based on the number of visa applications processed during H1 2019, followed by Russia and India.

Great expectations: easy connectivity everywhere.

Today’s busy executive or owner-manager expects to work seamlessly from any location in the world as if they were working within Ireland. This means accessing files, reading and responding to email, and making or taking calls. In 2018, the average length of a business trip for Irish residents was 3.8 days, says the CSO. That’s time that no-one can afford to be disconnected from work.

Using data and making calls is no longer an issue in the EU thanks to the abolition of roaming charges in 2017. However, the same isn’t true in other markets such as the USA, Canada, China, or India, where high roaming charges can apply if you’re not ready for them. This issue is likely to become even more important for business travelers over the coming months and years.

In the past, a customer would travel on business, then their next mobile bill would arrive, and they would see a huge spike in costs incurred from their overseas stay. While they might have had the option of applying to their provider for a refund, this was a cumbersome process that did little to alleviate the initial ‘bill shock’ from the high charges. To avoid this, some people either switched off their mobile data, or turned their phones off altogether, but this left them at risk of missing important calls or messages while travelling. There are other workarounds, but they are not ideal. 

A simpler roaming plan to take the pain out of business travel.

Travelling for work is stressful enough. It starts with arranging flights and accommodation but making sure of reliable connectivity comes a close second. Three’s new business daily roaming passes are designed to cover 83% of the non-EU destinations our customers travel to, including markets such as the USA, Canada, China and India.

Setting up the daily pass is fast and easy,  A flat daily rate for 300MB of data automatically starts once the user begins using their mobile data in the destination country  – which also gives them voice calls for free. This means there’s no charge for receiving local calls  or calls from Ireland, for making calls back to Ireland, or for making calls within the local market. It delivers a simple, positive customer experience that lets people work as they normally work, and most importantly get as much as possible from their business trip.

For more information, call our Business Advice team on 1800 200 017 or