Two thirds of business travellers think the combination of actual and virtual meetings would be the ideal solution
Business Travel Costs Are Too High for 80 percent of European Companies
LONDON, 13th January 2009: 80 percent of companies in Europe believe that business travel is a significant drain on time and budgets. For European business decision makers only 55 percent of the time spent on business trips counts as active working time. The remaining 45 percent is spent, for example, waiting for the next plane or in a hotel room between meetings. European managers are therefore in favour of using high definition video conferences for their business meetings more frequently. Two thirds of business travellers think the combination of actual and virtual meetings would be the ideal solution. These are the results of the European study “Face to Phase: The convergence of business travel and virtual meetings” which was conducted by the international service provider Easynet Global Services in cooperation with Toluna, the international provider of online market research panels.
Overall, one in six business travellers in Europe are unhappy with the amount of time they spend on business trips. German, French, Swiss and Spanish decision makers would be in favour of less travel and more virtual meetings. In Great Britain, the Netherlands, Italy and Belgium the amount of travel seems to be less of a problem .
Apart from saving time, 60 percent of respondents see video conferencing as a means of driving significant cost savings on their travel budget. One in four companies estimate the potential savings to be more than 30 percent of their travel budget. Respondents in Italy, Spain, Germany and Switzerland are the most optimistic. In these countries one in three managers consider the reduction in travel cost through so called telepresence technology to be at least one third. Managers in the Benelux countries are more conservative. In the Netherlands almost half of the respondents think they would save a maximum of 20 percent. One in five respondents in Belgium doesn’t see any cost advantage of video conferencing over business travel.
Denis Planat, Chief Operating Officer, Easynet Global Services explains: “A lot of companies are unaware that telepresence providers are offering much more than only the technical installation. Full service providers who manage meetings from booking to technical set-up and support ensure participants are not put off by the technology. Thereby, equipment utilisation is high and significant travel budget reductions result in a rapid return on the videoconferencing equipment investment.“
For example, Spain has the highest usage of full service video conferencing with 38 percent of business managers already using them or definitely planning to implement them. At the same time, Spanish business managers are expecting the highest cost savings: One quarter of them expect savings on the travel budget in excess of 40 percent. . Companies who provide full service video conference solutions are therefore becoming more relevant. They look after the entire organisation and relieve both participants and IT departments alike. Currently many business managers are organising their conferences themselves – despite tight schedules. One in five European top managers handle the technical set-up themselves and therefore lose some of the time saving. In the Netherlands one in four decision makers book their virtual meetings themselves. Additionally, internal IT departments are often strained with the technical support for these systems. A significant proportion of the envisaged cost saving is thereby not realised.
Another important aspect of video conferencing is the improved work-life balance. The stress of business travel is mostly felt by German, Italian and British managers. Here half of the respondents feel the effects of frequent business trips on their private life. The Dutch and Belgians are much more relaxed in this respect. Less than a third of respondents think that frequent business travel leads to ill health.
The survey “Face to Phase: The convergence of business travel and virtual meetings“ describes the results of an online survey for Easynet Global Services in cooperation with Toluna. In October and November 2008 business managers were asked about their views on business travel and video conferencing. 716 respondents from Germany, Great Britain, France, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands, Belgium and Switzerland took part. The survey was conducted in the respective local language.
About Easynet Global Services
Easynet Global Services is an international managed networks and hosting company, delivering superbly managed solutions for businesses and enterprises. Owning extensive global network and hosting infrastructure, the company sets itself apart through customer service excellence. Easynet has customers in 50 countries and can deliver solutions in 194. Easynet’s Managed Virtual Meeting telepresence solution in London recently received high profile endorsement as the UK Environment Minister used it to give a keynote speech to 150 attendees at the Climate Change Summit in Sydney.
Easynet's approach is underpinned by professional excellence in understanding, designing, delivering, and managing customer solutions, its ability to work successfully with partners, and its attention to quality. Customers include Sky, the Ford Motor Company, Kia Motors, Calor, Tchibo and Kellogg Italia. Easynet is part of the British Sky Broadcasting group, which has a total market capitalisation of £7.4bn. For more information visit http://www.easynet.com.
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