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Study shows UK firms conscious of travel costs

UK businesses and their employees have adopted a more conscious approach to the costs of business travel leading to greater use of video conferencing and a new approach to travel policy, according to a new study from American Express Business Travel.

78% of the 500 business executives at mid-sized UK companies surveyed by American Express said they were more conscious of the costs associated with business travel since the recession, reports Travel Daily News. This heightened awareness of travel costs is accompanied by increasing internal pressure to cut travel expenses.

More than half of staff (62%) said they were motivated to cut their travel expenses due to the new habits of their colleagues, with 46% of staff reporting that their bosses are leading by example in cutting flights and downgrading their standard of transport.

Furthermore, around a quarter of respondents (24%) felt that what American Express termed an “age of austerity” for business travel would actually provide a blueprint for the future. The majority of respondents felt that the new, cost-effective approach to business travel would continue for at least two (33%) or three (19%) years.

“Many UK employees and employers are clearly working together to achieve return on investment for travel, and have developed a much more frugal mindset to help them through the downturn,” said Michael Rouse, vice president and general manager of American Express Business Travel EMEA.

40% of firms reported that they had cut their business travel in comparison with the ‘boom times’ of 2002-2007 with a third reporting they had reduced their annual travel budget by some £50,000 per year.

This reduction in costs has been achieved through a variety of methods but the most prevalent has been the use of video conferencing. 62% of respondents said that since the recession they had turned to video conferencing facilities to reduce business travel.

“Companies should not forget that as the economy recovers so prices on core travel commodities such as air and hotel rates are likely to rise,” said Mr Rouse.