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Study shows cutting business travel hurts profits

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According to a recent study, companies that continued to send employees on trips during the recession had higher profits than those that didn’t. Conducted by Oxford Economics and commissioned by the U.S. Travel Association, the study attempted to discover the link between travel and a company’s bottom line.

U.S. companies generated $9.50 in revenue and $2.90 in profit for every dollar invested in business travel, based on analysis of 14 industries over an 18-year period. An accompanying survey of 298 businesses found that 57 percent of business travelers believe that fewer employees on the road hurt their company’s performance. Only 4 percent said that it helped.

“When we analyzed data from the Great Recession and recovery, we learned that companies that invested in most business travel tended to grow the fastest,” said Adam Sacks, managing director of Oxford Economics.

Business travel spending has rebounded the last couple of years. Companies spent an estimated $225 billion on domestic travel in 2012, which is 5 percent higher than the previous year and above the all-time high reached in 2007.

“The easiest thing to cut is travel and tourism,” said Roger Dow, president and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association. “Oftentimes they pull salespeople off the road and don’t go to a convention. What this report shows is that can be counterproductive.”

The survey’s business travelers believe they would lose 42 percent of their customers without face-to-face meetings. The respondents also said they were twice as likely to get new customers they met in-person.

For more information, read the USA Today article or visit