Travel purchasers urged to get tough

10 February 2010

10 February 2010 | Jake Kanter

Business travel buyers must question travellers on the necessity of their trips in order to cut costs and emissions.

Industry speakers at the Business Travel & Meetings Show in London yesterday said getting tough on travellers was key to eliminating needless journeys. 

Jerome Drevon-Barreaux, regional chair of the Association of Corporate Travel Executives, said: “The first question has to be, do you need to travel? I have sometimes found that five or six people are going to one meeting and you think, is this necessary? If you cut this back to three people, then that’s a 40 per cent saving.”

A well organised and presented internal business travel website can ensure employees comply with policy, he added. It can also be a space where colleagues share practical information, such as the best way to get from an airport to the office. 

Lucy Bertenshaw, senior campaigns manager at environment charity WWF, said businesses must cut surplus trips to reduce emissions.

She urged delegates to use more technology, including videoconferencing and telepresence, which she said were “just as effective as meetings”. 

Bertenshaw recognised these systems are not cheap, but said buyers can take advantage of videoconferencing rooms at hotels: “Technology is expensive but the market is becoming increasingly accessible.

“Board level buy-in is important, because if they say they don’t want [unnecessary] travel, it sets a good example to staff,” she added.

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