Digital tech is enhancing business travel – not replacing it

Technology

Technology is helping to boost business travel rather than replace it, a new study has revealed.

The research, carried out by the Economist Intelligence Unit, shows that UK companies are using technology as a way to enhance business travel, instead of as an alternative.

This helps to explain why business travel is on the increase despite the ability to now communicate in real-time with most parts of the world.

The survey showed that nearly half of the UK companies quizzed had increased their levels of business travel compared to three years ago.

The majority of travel was to European destinations but with the developing markets such as India and China becoming increasingly popular.

Almost half, 48 percent, of the executives said they travelled within the UK at least once a week but overall internal travel was down slightly on previous levels.

The research highlighted the general attitude towards digital technology was as a helpful aide to business travel. Many companies used communication tools such as Skype and Google Plus but mainly for internal meetings.

It also identified the use of mobile technology, such as the Webexpenses app, to cut costs and improve the efficiency of business travel. Of those surveyed, 81 percent said that technology had improved their productivity whilst travelling.

Karen Penney, Vice President of Global Payments for American Express, said: “UK companies have identified business travel as an important catalyst for economic growth.

“Clearly the globalisation of the economy has led companies to prioritise business travel to gain new business.

“However, the research shows companies will be placing a strategic emphasis on their travel programmes, with a focus on holding down costs to maximise their return on investment.”