Survey: Cutting business travel cuts business

CHICAGO, ILL.
February 16, 2011 8:42am
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•  Less business travel adversely impacts their business, say more than a third

•  ‘Some companies are revisiting their policies’


As companies carefully watched their budgets in 2010, many were reluctant to send their employees on planes, trains and automobiles.

But such penny pinching might have had unintended consequences, suggest results of a recent survey paid for by CareerBuilder.com, the online jobs site.

Three-in-ten (30 percent) companies say they cut back on business travel last year, and of those companies, more than one-third (37 percent) say it negatively affected their business, according to the survey.

When asked how fewer business trips affected their bottom lines, companies reported the following:

• Less effective internal communication – 12 percent

• Fewer sales – 11 percent

• Less effective execution on internal business initiatives – 10 percent

• Less customer loyalty – 8 percent

When it comes to business travel this year, the majority of companies (77 percent) say business travel levels will stay the same as last year. Eleven percent say their companies will okay more business trips this year, while 13 percent say business travel will decrease.

“Business travel is an important part of many companies’ operations as it lets them stay connected with clients and employees across the globe,” says Rosemary Haefner, vice president of human resources for CareerBuilder. “Some companies are revisiting their policies, though, to ensure they’re maximizing the effectiveness of their business travel initiatives.”

In addition to keeping a close eye on how much travel is taking place, nearly one-third (32 percent) of companies say they are also placing specific restrictions on business travel for employees since the recession, asking them to fly coach, lowering entertainment budgets, and having them only travel domestically.

Web conferencing is another way companies are keeping business travel budgets in check. Forty-two percent of companies say they rely more on phone/Web conferencing now to conduct business with clients, with 31 percent saying they get just as much out of virtual meetings as face-to-face meetings.

The majority of workers (68 percent) surveyed say they never travel for business, while 6 percent say they travel every other week or more. Five percent say they travel every other month. In addition, 19 percent of those who travel for business say the amount they travel negatively affects their home life.

Survey methodology

The survey was conducted online within the U.S. by Harris Interactive and paid for by CareerBuilder.com among 2,482 U.S. employers and 3,910 U.S. employees (employed full-time; not self-employed; non-government) ages 18 and over between Nov. 15 and Dec. 2, 2010. Percentages for some questions are based on a subset, based on their responses to certain questions. With pure probability samples of 2,482 and 3,910 one could say with a 95 percent probability that the overall results have a sampling error of +/- 1.97 and +/- 1.57 percentage points, respectively. Sampling error for data from sub-samples is higher and varies.


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