23 July 2008 | Jake Kanter
Over three quarters of companies in the UK plan to limit non-essential business travel in a bid to cut costs.
According to a survey of 175 travel purchasers by the Institute of Travel Management (ITM), 80 per cent said their companies were taking action to "batten down the hatches" in tight economic conditions, as "spiralling" energy prices affected travel costs. In addition, 20 per cent said their company would not rule out a total short-term freeze on travel.
Organisations are looking to find alternatives to travel, with 76 per cent of the respondents reporting an increase in video conferencing, while an additional 65 per cent saw more localised meetings. It is thought the majority of business travellers are complying with the reductions and are also accepting downgrades in class. Paul Tilstone, executive director of the ITM believes this shows "cost cutting measures are both expected and respected".
Colin Goldney, managing director of Argate Consulting, ITM's research partner said: "When the economy picks up, changes in behaviour due to increased exposure to video conferencing could result in executives travelling far less than before."