In this summer of our discontent, its hard to see any sign of the drastic cuts corporations are making in business travel budgets. The last plane I took met the "very full" standard set by the flight attendants, at one point there was a line 20 minutes long to get into the bathroom, and I noticed the usual number of travelers working on PowerPoint presentations on their PC notebooks.
Nevertheless, cuts are being made. If you havent felt it yet, consider this: 77 percent of 180 businesses surveyed are reducing travel in response to the economic slowdown, and 54 percent are reducing the number of meetings and individual travelers. These stats come from the National Business Travel Association, of Alexandria, Va.
I remember when technology was supposed to save us from excess travel, but that future hasnt appeared. Where is videoconferencing today? Where are the software programs designed to create virtual groups and workspaces? Mostly cut from the operating budget.
Some newer technologies are trying to save companies money while reducing travel. For example, Presenters solution for enabling on-demand video, voice and presentations for the Web and Pocket PCs—in lieu of a plane trip to headquarters—can save a few bucks.
But that doesnt get to the matter of "smart" travel. Travelers may justifiably want to stay in luxurious hotels. But an inexpensive hotel that offers high-speed Internet access in the room is better than an expensive hotel without a working desk and only dial-up availability.
And heres another good sacrifice: public transportation. Travelers to NetWorld+Interop next month could save about $40 in cab or limo fare to and from the airport into downtown Atlanta. Take the subway for a $1.75 each way. Hey, in these hard times, we all have to do our share, since technology isnt doing its.