Companies Put the Kibosh on Business Travel … Thanks, AIG!

Posted April 10, 2009 by Katie Blais

Kurumsal_cozumler1_formatted In a former job I traveled a lot. Sadly, it was a start-up company with a next-to-nothing travel budget, so my lavish accommodations consisted of an air mattress on the floor of my brother’s studio apartment in Brooklyn. Many companies though, with much loftier cash flows than my previous employer, are feeling the effects of the AIG fallout. Which means closer attention to the company-sanctioned high-roller lifestyles many higher-ups are accustomed to, and an easy target is travel budgets and expenses.

With millions of Americans losing their jobs and the economy in the toilet, it is just a tad annoying to hear about big-wigs taking private jets or getting thousand-dollar spa treatments during their last “company retreat” Seeing the backlash AIG has suffered, many other companies are erring on the side of caution and cutting back on travel budgets before they too are publicly scorned—sad news for said big-wigs and even sadder news for the travel industry.  U.S companies are canceling up to $1 billion worth of corporate travel during 2009 and hotels are feeling the crunch. In Las Vegas, a hot spot for conventions and corporate events, bookings are way down.  During February alone hotels in L.A. lost events that could have filled 95,000 hotel rooms, and there are only so many celebs seeking refuge in the Chateau Marmont, you know? 

Even when companies do hold events, their budgets have shrunk, which means, fewer open bars, less gourmet food and less money for the service industry—which in the past few years has been on overdrive adding amenities to attract the lucrative business traveler, building spas, hot restaurants, and bars at their properties. 

Extravagant lifestyles are slowly becoming a thing of the past across the board, so don’t be surprised if you see more suits on your next cheap flight.

Here’s hoping CEOs have brothers in Brooklyn with air mattresses! 


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