August 26 2009 by Chris McGinnis
Despite numerous reports of dramatic reductions in corporate travel, the Best Western Diamond 100--a group of Best Western's most frequent guests expect to travel as much (68 percent) or more (11 percent) this autumn compared to the same time last year. Twenty-one percent say they will travel less. (Check out full survey results here http://www.bestwestern.com/unmanagedtravelers.pdf )
Many of those who are planning to travel as much or more than last fall explained how business trips are an integral part of maintaining relationships. "In a down economy, it's worth the extra cost to get in front of my customers even more. My competitors are cutting back and I'm there to pick up the slack," said an employee of a Utah building products company. A BWD100 member from Seattle commented that while her business overall is down, "I still have to make the same number of trips to maintain relationships and business." Another member who works for an aerospace company in California stated, "My work has not been impacted by the recession and my travel schedule remains the same from month to month." Another member, speaking for many, commented, "We are watching our money, but so far, thank goodness, I am still traveling the same amount."
For others, the recession has created opportunities. "The ice cream business is strong even during recessions. We are still hiring and profits are strong. My business travel will only increase due to the market," said a dairy company salesperson from Yakima, Wash.
However, the economy has taken a toll on the frequency of business travel for about 20 percent of BWD100 members. "I was given a directive yesterday to cut travel expenses any way possible," reported a sales rep for a large wholesale grocery company. Another member said, "My project has been suspended, so I will work part time for the rest of 2009, which of course will mean fewer business trips." An employee at a sprinkler manufacturer in Richmond, VA said, "My overnight travel has been eliminated at this time by management." And a management consultant from Texas stated it rather simply: "Work has slowed down."
Which group do YOU fall in? What are your intentions for travel this autumn? Let us know in the comments boxes below.