May your travel lead to profits

July 28, 2010 at 10:13 am 3 comments

by Tony

I read, with some interest last week, that President Obama wants federal workers to cut down on travel.

The basis for the request was primarily to cut down on greenhouse gas emissions. Setting aside where you line up on the whole global warming debate, I found the appearance of the story to be quite timely. I say that because it was published just minutes after I finished moderating an NBTA NetsSmart series titled “The ROI of Business Travel.” During the webinar, I cited data from a report done by HIS Global Insights that incorporated 10 years worth of data and indicated that business travel has a decidedly positive impact on a company’s bottom line profits. The study suggested a company reaps $20 in incremental profit for every dollar spent on business travel.

It also describes that increases in business travel expenditures would have a massive stimulative effect on the economy, significantly growing both jobs and tax revenues.

So, for a moment I was perplexed. If business travel is good for a company and would have a massive stimulative effect on the overall economy, why would the President suggest federal employees stop traveling, particularly now when the economy could use all the help it can get?

Then, I quickly sorted it all out. Given the federal government doesn’t generate profits (it just determines how to allocate the taxes collected from individuals and corporations), the President’s request makes perfect sense.

But for the rest of you, I would ask that you continue to forge on and promote travel as the lifeblood to our economy.  As to helping reduce the greenhouse gasses produced from the travel of federal employees, I suggest that the politicians should simply stop talking – that generates a ton hot air.

Entry filed under: Business Travel, Tony's thoughts. Tags: , , , , , , , .

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3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Aash  |  July 28, 2010 at 10:23 am

    Well said Tony. The problem with the President’s statement is that many people don’t understand that the federal govt is not in the profit making business and many of us are. So while his remarks make sense for the federal govt, it should have been an internal communication. Not something that was distributed globally. Many people will misconstrue his comments and create an initiative where they follow that lead and that makes no sense.

  • 2. Tony D  |  July 30, 2010 at 11:02 am


    Right on, and it looks like many others in our industry have jumped on this one as well. Hopefully the message will be heard.


  • 3. Dave Cooney  |  August 4, 2010 at 7:18 am

    The reason business travel leads to increased profits is because people are more productive when they travel, right? So even though civil servants are not in the business of generating profits, we as taxpayers should expect them to be as productive as possible at whatever their missions are. Combine the productivity issue with the stimulative effect you mentioned and I conclude that I’d prefer that the government put travel way down on its list of carbon emission reduction initiatives. Also, being so kindhearted, I don’t want government employees to be denied the modern day airport experience. Despite all that I don’t expect the President’s statement to have any effect on corporate travel budgets.


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