Study of European Businesses Reveals Travel is Increasing Even as its Business Value Declines

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Survey of 400 executives in Europe shows growing need for face-to-face video collaboration to improve productivity, reduce travel costs, and achieve better work-life balance

A new study revealed a disconnect between the declining value of business travel and its increasing use in Europe. On one hand, about a quarter of the executives surveyed plan to increase the volume of their business travel in 2011; on the other hand, one-third question whether the business gets the best value from their travel and say that many meetings that take them out of the office could be efficiently and effectively conducted by video conference. Many also report feelings of stress and admit to having missed family occasions such as birthdays and anniversaries.

Conducted by Coleman Parkes Research on behalf of Polycom Inc. (Nasdaq: PLCM), a global leader in unified communications, the study sheds light on one reason behind the disconnect: about half of all short-haul domestic flights were for executives attending more “regular” meetings – meetings that could be successfully conducted by video conference for less cost, less time, less business disruption, and less family stress. And yet, the study found, a surprising number of companies – four in 10 – have not yet implemented video conferencing, a practice that many executives have found to be far more time and cost efficient.

Heineken, one of the world’s leading brewers in terms of sales volume and profitability, has benefited from using Polycom video conferencing solutions to reduce travel and boost productivity.

“As a global organisation with 24-hour activity, Heineken continuously collaborates on production processes, new products and operations,” said Ed Kroes, technology consultant in Heineken’s Global Business Process and Technology. “Through voice and video conferencing solutions from Polycom, the efficiency of our meetings has been improved. As a result, we have achieved significant cost savings related to travel expenditures and increased employee productivity.”

In January and February 2011, Coleman Parkes interviewed 400 senior business executives across Europe from various industries at companies with more than 1,000 employees. The focus was on executives who travel frequently for business reasons. Respondents included Marketing Directors, CMOs, COOs, Operations Directors, Senior Consultants, Sales Directors and CIOs.

Key Findings: Impact on Business

  •     Half (51%) of all short-haul domestic business flights taken by executives were for regular meetings.
  •     One-third (33%) of executives question whether the business gets the best value from their travel.
  •     One-third (33%) say that many meetings they attend could be conducted by video conference.
  •     Nearly half (45%) believe the business could save a lot of money by using video conferencing.
  •     Four in 10 (40%) reported late arrival for an average of 2.5 meetings for the year because of travel-related delays.

Key Findings: Impact on Quality of Life

  •     On average, a senior director of the companies studied took between seven and eight domestic flights for business and between six and seven international flights in 2010.
  •     Executives spent an average of 13 days out of the office in 2010 taking short-haul flights.
  •     Nearly one-third (30%) of executives spent three weeks out of the office in 2010 on business travel.
  •     One-quarter of the executives interviewed reported feeling stressed by plane travel.
  •     One in 10 said they had missed a wedding anniversary, and an equal proportion reported missing a child’s birthday.

By spotlighting the contrast between the shrinking value and growing use of business travel, as well as executives’ dissatisfaction with the current travel-intensive model of conducting business meetings, the study reveals a need for a better approach. Video conferencing and telepresence solutions from Polycom improve productivity and reduce travel expenses, disruption, and stress. The study suggests that companies can reap significant benefits by moving video conferencing higher up their IT priority lists.

To see the Coleman Parkes survey in full please go to

About Polycom
Polycom, Inc. is a global leader in unified communications solutions with industry-leading telepresence, video, voice and infrastructure solutions built on open standards. Polycom powers smarter conversations, transforming lives and businesses worldwide. Please visit for more information or connect with Polycom on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.


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