Companies look to virtual meetings to save money

Video conferencing is being recognised across Europe as the best way to save money and improve business efficiencies, according to the latest research from Easynet Global Services.

The study shows that 80% of companies in Europe believe that business travel is a significant drain on time and budgets. For European business decision makers only 55% of the time spent on business trips counts as active working time. The remaining 45% is spent, for example, waiting for the next plane or in a hotel room between meetings.

European managers are therefore in favour of using high definition video conferences for their business meetings more frequently. Two thirds of business travellers think the combination of actual and virtual meetings would be the ideal solution. These are the results of the European study, Face to Phase: The convergence of business travel and virtual meetings, which was conducted by the international service provider Easynet Global Services in cooperation with Toluna, the international provider of online market research panels.

Overall, one in six business travellers in Europe are unhappy with the amount of time they spend on business trips. German, French, Swiss and Spanish decision makers would be in favour of less travel and more virtual meetings. In Great Britain, the Netherlands, Italy and Belgium the amount of travel seems to be less of a problem. Apart from saving time, 60% of respondents see video conferencing as a means of driving significant cost savings on their travel budget.

One in four companies estimate the potential savings to be more than 30% of their travel budget. Respondents in Italy, Spain, Germany and Switzerland are the most optimistic. In these countries one in three managers consider the reduction in travel cost through so called telepresence technology to be at least one third.

Managers in the Benelux countries are more conservative. In the Netherlands almost half of the respondents think they would save a maximum of 20%. One in five respondents in Belgium do not see any cost advantage of video conferencing over business travel.

Denis Planat, COO at Easynet Global Services explained: “A lot of companies are unaware that telepresence providers are offering much more than only the technical installation. Full service providers who manage meetings from booking to technical set up and support ensure participants are not put off by the technology. Thereby, equipment utilisation is high and significant travel budget reductions result in a rapid return on the videoconferencing equipment investment.”

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