According to Meetings in America IV: The New Road Warrior, a national survey commissioned by WorldCom, a global business data and Internet provider, one in four business travellers has reduced air travel since September. Instead, 55 percent of these meeting goers have adopted audio, video, or Web conferencing as a means to conduct business; 62 percent expect to conference more in the future.
Safety has become a major concern for travellers, the survey says. Thirty percent said personal safety or concerns expressed by a family member influenced their travel plans in recent months. In fact, travellers with children living at home were the most likely to have reduced trips (one in three respondents).
Reduced company travel budgets brought about by the slowing economy remain the primary reason for reduced business travel, cited by 40 percent of the survey respondents. Airport security delays (as noted by 21 percent of respondents) and reduced flight schedules (21 percent) were also factors influencing travellers to fly less.
Although business travellers are optimistic about the economic resurgence, they are not as bullish on the prospects for their companies' travel budgets, the survey reports. Though 73 percent cautiously believe the economy will turn around by the end of the year, 35 percent of respondents affected by corporate travel budget cuts do not anticipate their companies' travel budgets will bounce back this year.
Meetings in America IV: The New Road Warrior was commissioned by WorldCom, Chicago, Ill. This year's study was conducted by Taylor Nelson Sofres Intersearch, headquartered in Horsham, Pa. Data collection was conducted from Dec. 12, 2001 - Jan. 5, 2002, among 323 qualified respondents representing a cross section of business travellers in the U.S. who have taken three or more trips by air for business purposes in the past 12 months. Complete results of the study can be viewed online at www.worldcom.com/conferencing.