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May 13 2013

Do You Know the Real ROI of Business Travel?

By David McMillin, Staff Writer



As many organizations work to trim their travel budgets, a new study may inspire decision-makers to revisit their thinking.

The Role of Business Travel in the U.S. Economic Recovery, a new report from Oxford Economics commissioned by U.S. Travel Association, shows that business travel means securing more business. Using historical data between 2007 - 2011 for 61 industries, the report highlights that sectors that spent the most on business travel posted higher growth in profits.

The recession caused plenty of companies to cut back, but the report reveals that

many of those reductions actually caused more harm than good. Fifty-seven percent of participants in the study indicated that reductions in business travel hurt their companies’ overall performance.

SEE ALSO: The New Normal of Business Travel

Fuel for Face-to-Face

Business travel means much more than one-man or one-woman visits for sales calls, too. As meeting planners and show organizers work to attract more attendees and exhibitors, the report includes some very valuable data:

  • 42 percent of respondents believe that customers would eventually be lost without in-person meetings.
  • Prospects are nearly twice as likely to become customers with an in-person meeting than without one.
  • 85 percent of corporate executives perceive web meetings to be less effective than in-person meetings with prospective customers.

As the meetings industry continues to hear grumblings from the government about reducing the number of conference attendees and shifting to cost-effective teleconferencing and webinars, these statistics show that those travel expenses can pay huge dividends.

SEE ALSO: Federal Budget Cuts Cancel More Meetings

“Tela-townhalls are not as effective as personal meetings with constituents, and traveling to Washington to work directly with congressional colleagues can’t be replaced by a “virtual” Congress,” Roger Dow, President and COO, U.S. Travel Association, said in testimony on Capitol Hill on May 7. “To do their work, other federal employees also need to attend occasional meetings and conferences.”

“When conducted responsibly, federal travel yields important returns on investment - from safety inspections to disaster relief assistance to professional training,” Dow added.

For more numbers that support business travel and face-to-face gatherings, click here to download key insights from the report.

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