When you go on a business trip to Germany, it is important to know a bit about Germany’s business etiquette because it is very important. Germany as a nation demands at most times a lot of respect which means the expectation is maintaining high standards. Any poor behavior could seriously damage future business dealings. Germans don’t like surprises, so any sudden changes in business transactions, even if they seem to be useful, are unwelcome. Germany’s business and business etiquette is taken seriously. Germans do not like humor in the business context and business counterparts don’t expect compliments.
How to make travel arrangements for your German business trip
Follow the hints below to get the most out of your business travel to Germany:
- all travel arrangements should be made well in advance;
- choose accommodation that is both convenient and fits your budget;
- devise a suitable itinerary;
- don’t forget to pack your travel documents, electronics and all the accessories you need;
- prepare for the business meeting well in advance but make sure what you want to present is still fresh in your memory.
When you arrive at your German destination you should be both relaxed and prepared then you will be well equipped to concentrate on the business meeting’s purpose. If you are well prepared you are more likely to stay focused throughout the business meeting.
The finer details of travel arrangements for your German business trip
When planning your first business travel trip to Germany you should always familiarize yourself with your business’s travel policy which includes business travel accommodation. Your travel arrangements need to get you from door to door. Consider details such as how much time it will take you to travel from the airport to your business hotel. Make sure you don’t book a hotel that is above your business’s budget but ensure it’s not too far from the venue for the business meeting. You will probably need a variety of services in your hotel to support your preparation for the business meeting. This may include lots of power points for your electronic devices, 24 hour room service which you may need if you are working at a late hour and Wi-Fi to keep you connected 24/7.
Compose your itinerary
Make sure you have a day to day itinerary ready to follow so you don’t miss your flight or your business meeting. Attending a business meeting in Germany is not just about work but you need time to relax as well.
Research your destination
As this is your first business trip to Germany you probably won’t know your destination at all so you will need a business travel planner. It’s a good idea to research the place to see if there is anything you would like to do when you have some leisure time between meetings. You might be considering taking a potential client out for a meal so you will need to familiarise yourself with tipping etiquette in Germany. Also if you have no knowledge of the German language it will give you some credibility if you teach yourself some basic phrases, like “thank you” in German which could make a lot of difference when trying to make a good 1st impression.
Preparation of travel documents
Most countries, including Germany, require travellers to have a travel authorisation to enter Germany to attend a business meeting. You will also need a valid passport, airline tickets and sometimes a visa. The business visa fee is 80 euros for each applicant. A business visa application may take between 10 and 15 days to process so you need to submit your application well in advance of your travel date. A German business visa is called a short-stay Schengen visa, which allows the holder to enter Germany and stay for up to 90 days in a 6 month period. It is usually issued to individuals who enter Germany to take part in business, attend business meetings and sign contracts, etc.
Preparing for your German business meeting
Make a note of what you hope the outcome will be of the business meeting. You may just be hoping to gain new contacts or be gauging the possibility of winning new clients. Make sure you know as much as possible about the people you are expecting to meet. You will have to get the dress code right for the business meeting too. If the venue for the business meeting is an industrial site, you will need to wear sturdy footwear.
If you have been scheduled to give a presentation you might need to request specialist electronic equipment. This is just the matter of emailing the right person ahead of the time to check if the right equipment can be made available. You don’t want to make a poor impression at your first German business meeting by being disorganised. This won’t buy you more business contracts.
As long as you prepare, conduct some detailed research before your business meeting you can be assured optimize your German business trip will be both productive and enjoyable.