Earlier this week I blogged about how more B2B operators are using virtual conferences to expand their audiences and reduce costs. However, there are times when nothing substitutes for a face to face meeting. And as the recession fades, more businesses are putting their employees on the road. At the same time, they expect efficiency and cost management when planning for corporate travel.
The latest research firm to release business travel statistics is GetThere. Analysts at this firm note that 61% of businesses, globally, are planning to spend anywhere from 1%-10% more on corporate travel than they did last year. Not all of this increase is linked to more travel. Travel operators like airlines and hotels have raised rates. Suzanne Neufang, general manager of GetThere, says, "For the most part, most companies are back to their travel spending pre-recession. What has changed is they're trying to get more out of every trip." This means that business travelers no longer have unlimited expense accounts. These travelers will often take day trips instead of staying overnight.
And the accounting departments at many businesses are watching the expense receipts to be sure travelers are only reimbursed for specific costs, such as checking one bag. This vigilance means that travel providers like airlines are looking for new ways to generate revenue. For many, Internet access is proving to be in demand. The GetThere report indicates that 20% more businesses will reimburse their employees for WiFi costs while they are flying this year.
To manage travel booking and expense reimbursement, businesses are signing up for online services like those offered by GetThere. In doing so, businesses can save on agency fees and on air fare, hotel stays and rental car expenses. As the scrutiny on corporate travel expenses continue, look for more services to promote their cost-saving online solutions.[Sources: Rogers, Kate. Recession Changes How Employees, Companies View Travel. FoxBusiness.com. 12 May 2011. Web. 24 May 2011; Corporate Travel Benchmark Report. Getthere.com. April 2011. Web. 24 May 2011]