In order to strengthen the business case for meeting, U.S. Travel Association commissioned APCO Insight to survey 401 business executives at companies with more than $50 million in annual sales to gauge how much they value business travel as a means of growing revenue, developing talent and achieving their business goals. Despite 82 percent of the surveyed companies reporting that business travel is important to achieving their business results, business travel bookings through agencies have fallen 20 percent in January and February (according to tracking done by Amadeus).

Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management Professor Daniel Diermeier stated, “It’s a classic trade-off between short-term cost-reductions and long-term value. During times like these, many companies will go too far, and actually cut back on the activities that would best position them to compete in the future.”

According to the survey:

  • Nearly three-quarters (72 percent) of businesses surveyed say that increasing travel while others are cutting back creates an opportunity to build market share and new customer relationships.
  • Half (53 percent) also believe that companies that reduce their business travel will give an advantage to competitors who maintain their travel commitment.
  • 81 percent believe that more client contact is necessary in a slow economy.
  • A strong majority (59 percent) strongly agree that in-person contact grows their business.
  • 72 percent of businesses believe that increasing travel while others are cutting back creates an opportunity to build market share and new customer relationships.