US COMPANIES believe they can travel their way out of the recession and gain a long-term competitive edge into the bargain. A US Travel poll of more than 400 companies with annual corporate travel spends of US$50 million or more shows an overwhelming majority - 72 per cent - believe travel should be stepped up in recessionary times. More than half (53 per cent) say companies who cut business trips are handing a competitive advantage to their rivals.
"Travel plays an important role in business growth in a down economy, by helping businesses connect with their customers," says Suzanne Cook, US Travel's senior vice-president of research.
"It's also clear from our survey results that the old maxim remains true: if you don't take care of your customers, someone else will."
Warning against travel cuts, Daniel Diermeyer, a professor at the Kellogg School of Management, adds: "During times like these, many companies will go too far, and actually cut back on the activities that would best position them to compete in the future."