“The era of extensive, expensive corporate travel may be over,” pronounced Thursday’s Wall Street Journal. The article, headlined “More Lucrative Business Travelers Now Teleconference, Fly Coach,” says U.S. companies reduced their travel budgets last year between 30 percent and 40 percent and will probably increase those budgets “by only half that amount in 2010.”
In lieu of frequent flying, the Journal reports that “a growing number of companies are investing in technology for ‘virtual’ meetings held over the Internet.”
Case in point: The Food Group, a food marketing agency.
The Food Group is increasingly using Cisco WebEx solutions to hold webinars with internal staff and clients, the Journal reports. While The Food Group staff members still fly to important meetings with key clients, WebEx has helped the agency cut its annual travel budget in half.
The Food Group’s Kyle Krause, managing director of The Food Group Digital, told the Journal he traveled 90 days last year, down from 150 in 2008. Krause plans to travel only 50 days this year.
Reducing travel costs isn’t the only benefit businesses such as The Food Group realize from virtual collaboration tools.
In a recent YouTube video, Kraus said WebEx has helped The Food Group “triple our webinar business” by hosting targeted webinars on behalf of its clients.
So virtual collaboration helps reduce costs and boost revenues. If for some reason you still need more reasons to consider virtual meetings, here are two more headlines from Thursday’s Journal: “When Security Takes Longer Than the Flight” and “Coming to an Airport Near You: the Virtual Strip Search.”