The cutting is far from over when it comes to travel expenses.

According to a recent survey of more than 220 travel managers conducted by the National Business Travel Association, 74 percent of U.S. companies will continue to seek out new travel cost-cutting measures in 2002. The most-targeted areas include air (58 percent) and hotel expenditures (57 percent).

“Meeting business objectives while keeping travel costs down will be a major priority in 2002,” predicts Marianne McInerney, NBTA's executive director.

Sixty percent of respondents said that their firms would be reducing nonessential travel, and 52 percent are planning to hold fewer off-site meetings. To bring down air costs, they are booking discount airlines (51 percent), booking flights more than a week ahead (61 percent), and using alternative airports (43 percent).

“Last year, companies were reducing their overall travel,” says McInerney. “This year, they're back on the road but choosing low-fare airlines and discount, rather than full-service, hotels.”

Videoconferencing, increased use of charter planes (see “Should You Charter?” on page 59), and online booking were among the other cost-reduction measures mentioned.

Meanwhile, another survey, this one of 1,800 executives done by Management Recruiters International Inc., in Cleveland, also reported a reduction in business travel in favor of teleconferencing or Web-based conferencing.

Almost a third of the respondents said that their companies have “somewhat” changed the way they conduct business, while 14.1 percent said the changes have been significant.

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