Managers opt for ‘travel alternatives’ as meetings budgets dry up

Proof of budget-slashing in the meetings sector has been uncovered in a poll of 220 procurement, meetings and business travel managers.

The study for the Business Travel & Meetings Show found that 42% are using more travel alternatives, such as video conferencing, than they did a year ago.

A quarter are managing more UK and short haul destination meetings and 71% of those who organise pre-meeting events, such as golf and spa days, are arranging fewer of them.

The research also found that almost 70% of meetings budgets have remained static or declined in the last year. Only 23% saw budgets increase.

The findings disclosed that 38% of companies do not have a meetings policy, 80% do not use technology to manage their meeting spend and 65% do not measure meetings ROI.

David Chapple, event director of the show, said: “The meetings market is not known as the final frontier in the travel industry for nothing.

“Despite it being viewed as the rebellious teenager for many years, meetings management is becoming more mainstream and this survey suggests that traditional travel and procurement buyers now understand the benefits of introducing meetings policy, strategy, evaluation and technology.

“As for the meetings industry, it’s time the suppliers took note – there’s a whole new audience they can be doing business with.”

The Business Travel & Meetings Show is held on February 9-9 at Earls Court 2 in London.

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