Business Travelers Tightening Their Belts

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by Alex A. Kecskes

It's not hard to understand that in these tough economic times, many executives are choosing less expensive options and shying away from what corporate travel agents would book for them. When these cost-conscious execs see a lower price on an online booking screen, they feel guilty about the "Cadillac option."

One can see the logic in companies who insist on encouraging self-booking of business trips as a way to trim travel costs. Airfares and hotel rates are up sharply this year, and many corporations are trying to control travel spending.

A survey of 181 corporations conducted by travel-management firm BCD Travel found more companies moving to stricter travel policies. According to American Express, the guilt felt by execs who price compare often results in online bookings averaging about $80 less than comparable agent bookings. They also can't blame the corporate travel agent for choosing the more-luxurious option. This leaves them totally exposed if the procurement department, finance department or boss questions the expenditure.

Many companies are trimming their travel budgets, in some cases, to the welcome relief of execs who are finding business travel less of a pleasure--what with overbooked planes, security checks/delays and overcrowded airports. Corporations struggling to compete with tight fisted overseas competitors are shifting employees into three-star hotels instead of four-star venues.

Lately, travel managers are trying to get travelers to book hotels where discounts have been negotiated in exchange for promising a high level of the company's hotel stays. That said, some companies are relaxing travel policies to give their employees a relief from today's travel hassles.

The bottom line is that all companies are tightening their travel budgets. And business travel will be more austere in months to come.

For an additional perspective, check out this video:

Alex A. Kecskes has written hundreds of published articles on health/fitness, "green" issues, TV/film entertainment, restaurant reviews and many other topics. As a former Andy/Belding/One Show ad agency copywriter, he also writes web content, ads, brochures, sales letters, mailers and scripts for national B2B and B2C clients. Please see more of his blogs and view additional job postings on Nexxt.

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