There is no doubt that Asia has experienced significant global growth over the last ten years, with the expansion in both Asian companies and markets fuelled in part by an influx of affluent consumers. Their strong demands are drawing interest from international investors, which is providing opportunities for growth among Australian businesses.
With business abroad comes international travel, and Asia is already proving popular, with seven of the top 10 fastest growing international destinations booked by Australians located in Asia. 14.9% of Australian travel to Singapore in April was business-related, and a significant 70,481 Australians visited China for business purposes in the same period. Other popular destinations for business travel include Japan, Malaysia, Indonesia and South Korea.
If you’ve got business interests in any of these locations, or if you’re considering venturing into these lucrative markets, international business travel might be on the cards. Read on for our guide to upgrading your experience when travelling to Asia for business.
Preparing for Business Travel in Asia
When you know what to expect from your business trip to Asia, you can really make the most of the experience. From long-haul flights to hotel customs, prepare yourself with our expert guidance.
Flying to Asia
With so many major cities and hubs throughout Asia, and most capital cities in Australia offering direct and connecting flight paths, there are so many options when it comes to flying to Asia. In addition to Australia’s big domestic airlines, Qantas and Virgin Australia, travellers to Asia can choose from international carriers, with airlines including Singapore Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Thai Airways and Air Asia among others, providing options to suit various travel needs and budgets.
With regard to flight times, you can expect flights of at least eight hours, which is the time it takes to fly from Brisbane to Manila, Indonesia. Other typical direct flight times include:
- Sydney ® Hong Kong: 9hrs, 35mins
- Sydney ® Seoul, South Korea: 10hrs, 45mins
- Sydney ® Beijing, China: 12 hours
- Melbourne ® Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia: 8hrs, 30mins
- Melbourne ® Tokyo, Japan: 10hrs, 15mins
Stop-overs will extend your travel time but can also provide opportunities to refresh between flights or explore other cities. And a number of flights each day also offers options around when to fly; whether you prefer flying overnight or during the day.
Regardless of when you fly, make sure to prepare for your long-haul flight and avoid jet lag so you can hit the ground running when you land.
Staying at Hotels in Asia
When travelling internationally for business, you'll want to stay in a hotel that provides high-quality service, comfort and facilities to ensure you can either carry on your work or relax in your downtime. Fortunately, in Asia, you're spoilt for choice. And depending on your destination, unique cultural experiences await.
Drawing on the unique culture and essence of each city, Shangri-La Hotels & Resorts showcases typical, local experiences to guests across their 100 hotels prominently based throughout Asia and China. For example, in Hong Kong, guests can get a first-hand look at why it's renowned for its cuisine with a guided market tour experience, led by the hotel's award-winning chef. Meanwhile, in the vibrant city of Manila, guests can take a break from the chaotic city traffic and enjoy a 14-piece symphony orchestra while overlooking a lush outdoor garden.
As food is one of the highlights of travelling in Asia, hotels show their hospitality through unique culinary skills and service, says Cuili Ng from Pan Pacific Hotels Group: “In Yangon for example, don’t be surprised if the barman concocts the Burmese milk tea from scratch – including brewing the tea leaves – if you want a taste of the local beverage, even if it’s not on the menu!”
With so many options on offer, it can be daunting to know where to start. But you can take the hassle out of choosing your hotel by booking through SmartSTAY and receive additional benefits to enhance your visit, including breakfast and free WiFi to keep you connected. Each hotel in the SmartSTAY program is centrally located so you can get around easily and offers an additional benefit to business travellers that’s specific to the hotel, such as late check-out, room upgrade or bonus loyalty program points.
If you’re planning a business trip to China, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, Philippines, South Korea, Cambodia, Japan or Myanmar, talk to your dedicated Travel Manager about booking through SmartSTAY to take advantage of these benefits.
What to Know Before You Travel to Asia for Business
If you’re new to doing business in Asia, you might not be aware of some of the cultural differences and what they mean for business interactions. From the history and location of countries, to what to wear and business etiquette, and even laws that you need to consider when visiting, take a moment to understand your destination before you travel.
A good place to start is by reading up on how to successfully conduct business in Asia. Details such as the significance of building personal relationships and respecting family traditions, and even the importance of exchanging business cards, will help you approach your business dealings with confidence. And if you’re meeting over a meal, you should be aware that you’ll likely be sharing your dish with your business associates, says Cuili Ng from Pan Pacific Hotels Group: “In Asia, sharing food is a cultural norm and you’ll see people digging into all the different dishes on the table with their own set of chopsticks and spoon in a communal ambience, even when discussing business.”
Now that you know a bit about the customs, find out more details about your specific destination with our guides for Tokyo, Bangkok, Shanghai, Hong Kong and Singapore. And if you’re considering catching public transport, here are some tips from Shangri-La Hotels & Resorts: Public transport would be a great method of transportation in Singapore and Hong Kong, with the very efficient MRT train service. But in Manila, taxis are a must; unless guests want to ride a local bus, which will give them the real experience of Manila.
From how to get around the city, to where to dine and even the best ways to spend some spare time, feeling confident about your destination will help get you ready to do business. And finally, ensure you stay connected and on schedule throughout your business trip by equipping yourself with the best travel apps to make your experience seamless.
Upgrade Your Experience and Grow Your Business
If you’ve got a business trip to Asia on the calendar, ensure you make the most of the opportunities by upgrading your business travel experience with the right flights and hotel. And now that you are familiar with the customs and traditions of your destination country, you can enjoy the experience of travelling in Asia to grow your business.