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Survey finds 92 percent of executives are fed up with business travel

ON24 Inc., a webcasting and virtual event provider, has announced the findings of its survey of 3,756 registrants for this year’s VUE2011, the world’s largest virtual events user conference. The survey revealed that an overwhelming 92 percent of executives think that business travel is failing to improve, with almost half saying it is getting worse or even much worse.

“These results demonstrate that virtual communication is more ‘in sync’ than physical events with how people today prefer to work,” said Denise Persson, ON24’s chief marketing officer. “In today’s digital age, professionals increasingly prefer virtual events and webcasts to traveling to in-person events.”

When asked which cities they would choose to avoid for a convention or tradeshow if a substitute virtual event were available, Houston topped the list, with more than 49 percent of respondents preferring not to travel to the largest city in Texas. In fact, respondents said they would prefer attending a virtual conference over actually visiting several American cities, including:

  • Houston – 49.3 percent
  • Los Angeles – 41.7 percent
  • Orlando – 37.5 percent
  • Miami – 33.3 percent
  • Chicago – 27.8 percent

Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson was ranked as the nation’s worst airport, followed by Washington D.C.’s Dulles and Los Angeles’ LAX.

The survey respondents cited a variety of reasons for the woeful state of business travel. The worst part about flying was the possibility of sitting in the middle seat (53 percent), followed by potential delays (50.6 percent), security lines (40.9 percent) and rude airline employees (25.6 percent). Executives also noted the possibility of sitting next to a “nightmare passenger” as a concern, with three quarters (74.2 percent) of respondents saying they do not want to sit next to a sick person, a baby or annoying child (42.9 percent), an arm rest hog (42.9 percent), a snorer (35 percent) and a couple who can’t keep their hands off each other (26.4 percent).

Hotels fared no better, with a surprising 52.8 percent of executives concerned about the risk of bed bugs, along with dirty linens (44.8 percent) and noisy guests (42.3 percent). Responses about tradeshows and conventions reflected the usual criticisms about boring presentations (60.7 percent) and getting behind at work (60.1 percent). However, an interesting 19.6 percent of respondents said that the so-called “booth babes” who often staff tradeshow exhibits are sexist relics.

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