Survey Reveals Huge Wasted Cost of Business Travel

British companies are wasting billions of pounds each year on unnecessary business travel by not utilising the cost effective and time saving benefits of conference calling.

An in-depth nationwide survey commissioned by leading Swedish audio conferencing unit manufacturer Konftel demonstrates the huge potential sales opportunities available for dealers – with less than one third of companies holding meetings via conference call, as an alternative to traditional road, rail and air travel.

Hundreds of senior managers were questioned as part of independent research from YouGov which revealed just 30% of companies currently use conference units, not just as an ideal way to cut costs, but also to raise efficiency.

The analysis, involving almost 500 middle managers and above, revealed some significant geographical discrepancies, with businesses in the Meridian (South) area coming out on top with 44% of usage compared to just 22% of those in Yorkshire. Regionally, London companies reported 26% usage, the rest of the South 34%, Midlands and Wales 34%, the North 25% and Scotland 31%.

With possible plans for expanded road charging and increased air travel tax rises – as well as the continuing drive to cut transport emissions – the benefits of conference calling are becoming ever-more apparent, say Konftel, who are approved business partners of Siemens, Avaya and Alcatel and use Manchester-based Nimans as its exclusive UK distributor.

“This research illustrates the huge potential sales opportunities available for dealers to capitalise on,” explained Konftel’s Area Sales Manager Peter Johansson. “Whilst it is sometimes essential to travel for face-to-face meetings we firmly believe that often a conference call can provide a convenient and environmentally friendly alternative solution. The costs of a conference unit can very often be recouped by one saved business trip, so providing dealers with a perfect sales pitch.”

Johansson pointed out there is major growth potential in audio conferencing equipment and added: “We have recently returned from a major conference in London aimed at the office integrator market place. We found considerable interest in the peripherals market, in particular conferencing phones because there is now much higher demand for meetings to take place on an instantaneous basis without the necessity to travel, either at home or abroad.

“This is creating an environment where people are starting to recognise the tremendous cost savings and increases in efficiency. They are seeing that their investment in conferencing facilities is being repaid in an extremely short period of time, in some instances within a few weeks.”

Johansson confirmed: “There is a definite change in working patterns. People are having meetings almost on the spot, which enables them to be far more efficient and productive in their day to day business. Meetings can take place within hours, instead of weeks.

“The key thing, particularly with audio conferencing is that users can communicate with a group of people anywhere in the world instantaneously, especially as a means of progressing project work.”