Survey Shows French Executives Have Cut Air Travel Costs While Germans and Brits Still Fly at the Front of Plane
LONDON, July 26, 2010 – HP today revealed findings from a survey of 300 assistants to senior executives in large companies across the UK, Germany and France that found UK businesses spent an average of nearly £11,900 per senior executive on long-distance travel in the first quarter of 2010.
The survey, conducted by independent research firm, Coleman Parkes, took a look at patterns in executive travel in Europe evaluating effects of the recent ash cloud, hours spent travelling, modes of travel taken and even how much time an executive’s assistant spends arranging travel. The results suggest that many businesses need to look more closely at high-end video conferencing and other computer-based tools as an alternative to the costs and burdens of executive travel.
Legroom not a Luxury, the Frugal French and Ash Cloud Delays
• In spite of the economic climate, the majority of executives still choose to fly in comfort, with an average of 70 percent of businesspeople flying in either first or business class, with a further 2 percent utilising corporate jets.
• The French are noticeably more cost-conscious with 34 percent of their senior businesspeople flying economy long-haul, compared with 19 percent of British business chiefs and just 13 percent of German respondents. French executives also took trains more often.
• The vast majority of executives who traveled depended on commercial airlines and train companies to a great degree, even though they also travelled by car or private jet in specific cases. Commercial modes of transportation were leveraged despite unreliable scheduling and disruptive industrial action such as strikes.
• Mother Nature can also cause major disruption in travel activities as demonstrated by March’s volcanic ash cloud. HP’s research found that almost half of respondents had altered or delayed their travel plans due to the ash cloud, with UK executives missing on average 3-4 meetings entirely during the period due to grounded planes.
The research also gave new meaning to the adage ‘time is money’ with senior British executives spending an average of 11 working days out of the office each quarter; German and French businesspeople spent similar periods away from their desks. Furthermore, in the UK more than a third of respondents had spent over 3 weeks away from the office in a single quarter.
It’s not only the senior staff whose time is preoccupied: assistants on average spent 17 percent of their time arranging travel.
The time away from home also covers actual meetings attended or time the executive may have spent working via Wi-Fi at various stops or on planes, but there are still considerable periods of dead time. These include airport security lines, ground travel to and from the airport and breaks between meetings. Furthermore, the amount of work possible on aircraft is still limited.
There is progress being made. The findings also show more than 59 percent of UK companies, 53 percent of French and 42 percent of German already regularly use solutions such as video conferencing and telepresence, but there’s room for improvement; 35 percent, 34 percent and 38 percent, respectively, say they only use solutions occasionally while the rest do not use them at all.
“In the current climate, where cost efficiencies and environmental concerns run high, switching out planes, trains and automobiles for high-end video conferencing makes good business sense,” said Paul Bradley, EMEA international director of HP Halo Visual Collaboration Solutions. “Business travel is costly, time-consuming and can rob executives of not only productive working hours, but also time with their family.”
HP Halo Visual Collaboration Solutions offer enterprises a way to reduce the cost of travel and increase productivity that can be lost while traveling. The solutions also reduce carbon emissions. Using a London to New York example, if one multinational company used Halo to eliminate 200 round trips between those cities in one year, that company would prevent 278,959 kilograms of carbon dioxide emissions from entering the environment, equivalent to keeping 18,000 cars off European roads for a day.
About the Research
Three hundred executive assistants (100 in each of France, Germany and the UK) to senior directors in large private firms (all with over 1,000 employees) were polled by telephone in May and early June 2010. The research was undertaken by independent research firm Coleman Parkes Research with each interview being controlled through the use of a detailed questionnaire.
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