Corporate Travel Declines 42% in Q2

Corporate Travel Declines 42% in Q2
July 24, 2009
Last night American Express (NYSE:AXP) reported (during their quarterly earnings call) a record corporate travel decline of 42%. This was well below analysts' expectations of 20-30% decline. Further, The Q2 corporate travel data also marks the fourth consecutive quarterly deceleration. The AMEX data referenced above is a dollar amount and does not equate perfectly to the quantity of business trips being taken; however, analysts believe the two will generally correlate directionally. Their takeaway is that "corporate travel is anemic with no convincing indications of stabilization". This should come as no surprise to any of us. As I spend time talking with our customers (Brainshark has over 1,000 customers representing nearly every industry) I am consistently hearing that travel is shut down. Managers are being told by their bosses to get creative and find new ways to communicate and get the job done.

This is not a bad thing. In the past we thought nothing of running to the airport at a moment's notice to go visit a client or prospect. There was practically no consideration to the excessive costs in terms of time and money (not to mention massive carbon emissions) - that was just the way it was done. But the deep recession we are facing changed all that fast. Luckily we have the internet and a number of very good collaborative technologies that allow businesspeople to communicate, share, present, sell, market, support and train - without the enormous cost and hassle of travel. On-demand presentation solutions like Brainshark, plus web conferencing, video, telepresence, mobile devices, social networking are outstanding tools to "get the job done" fast and efficient. It also lets us spend more time with our families, which is something we can all appreciate.

Don't get me wrong. There are instances when sitting face to face in a business meeting is essential. We just don't need to do that all the time.

I'd like to hear how your company is using alternatives to solve the challenge of travel restrictions.