Contact above cash corporates say

Face to face meetings are crucial to keep businesses going even if it means an increased travel budget, UK companies say.

Three quarters of companies (75%) say they intend to travel as much if not more in 2009 than last year while half of those who say they will travel more cite increased business.

The findings were released today (June 29) in the Barclaycard Commercial Business Travel Survey of more than 2,200 UK business travellers.

Barclaycard said the findings “illustrate that whilst companies compete to survive and budgets are tightened, face-to-face meetings and networking are seen as crucial to keeping businesses going, even if this incurs travel costs.”

A large majority of the respondents said face to face meetings were “more effective” than alternatives to travel like video conferencing.

Despite a mounting campaign against the British government’s Air Passenger Duty (APD) which is due to increase later this year and again in 2010, businesses said that it was not dramatically affecting their travel plans.

 The survey, now in its 13thyear, found that 84% of respondents had not changed their travel plans due to the initial introduction of the APD and 53% “agreed that an additional environmental tax should be brought in on airlines.”

Other major findings included:

  • The number of business travellers using budget hotels increased form 2007 to 2008 by 2% to 55%
  • BA remains the most used airline for business travel : 29% in 2008 compared with 11% in 2007
  • The other three airlines most used for business travel are all low cost carriers: easyJet (2nd after BA), Ryanair (3rd) and Flybe (4th)
  • Use of first and business class went up 2% from 2007 to 2008 to 13%.

  • The individual’s average monthly spend on business travel in 2008 was £839 with an average of 8.2 days a month spent travelling
  • CEOs are travelling more than at any other level with an average of 16.3 domestic and international flights a year
  • The higher the turnover of a company the less it is governed by cost when choosing the class to travel
  • Conversely the smaller the company, the greater the compliance to company policy.

Neil Radley, Barclaycard Commercial’s managing director said: “The Barclaycard Commercial Business Travel Survey is a positive indicator for economic recovery with a third planning to travel more in 2009.

“This will have a knock-on effect on the economy and the parallel industries that survive because of it.

“The fears of the recession have not deterred some businesses from expansion – whilst the media reports stories of businesses downsizing, the Travel Survey shows positive signs for business expansion in both the UK and more globally.”

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