Business Travel Budgets Tighten

Have you noticed depleting stars from your hotel travel itinerary?

Many road warriors are not necessarily staying home because of higher prices and a down economy, but they are taking steps such as staying at cheaper hotels, according to a survey by Orbitz for Business and Business Traveler Magazine.

The survey found that six in 10 of those polled are on the road as much if not more in 2008 as they were the year before. But their time on the road is undeniably different in the current economic reality. Some 79% of those surveyed said they are under pressure to trim travel costs so they have started opting for less expensive hotels.

Businesses have also implemented other travel changes to save money: Forty-one percent of those polled are tightening their travel policies and implementing more restrictions on travelers for hotels and dining. Nearly half—47% of those surveyed—indicated changes to their company’s rental car policy, including requiring employees to rent smaller/least expensive car available (38%) and return vehicles with a full tank of gas to avoid costly surcharges (20%).

Quite a few respondents (42%) are exploring alternatives to travel, including video/web conferencing. Almost half (44%) report that they, or their company, are planning to attend fewer trade shows this year, or will simply send fewer employees to those events that are being attended.

While some business travelers might notice declining hotel quality, others might not get a hotel at all. A quarter of respondents said that they are now flying in and out of a business destination on the same day whenever possible.

Staying Domestic

Many companies are really cutting back on crossing the great pond. Thirty-three percent of those surveyed said their companies are currently doing less international travel as a way to save.

Of those who do travel internationally, 56% say they are allowed to fly business class for long-haul flights. Of the 44% who are not, 10% said their company policy has changed in the past year.

The Orbitz for Business/Business Traveler Magazine Trend Report was poled 610 Business Traveler Magazine subscribers online.