December 5, 2008 / 6:22 PM / in 10 years

U.S. businesses seen cutting travel spending: poll

United Airlines employees work behind a check-in counter at the O'Hare International airport in Chicago, June 4, 2008. REUTERS/Jeff Haynes

NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - Harried U.S. business travelers will be spending less time in airports next year as companies slash spending on hotels and airfares, according to a new survey.

Forty percent of U.S. business travelers expect to travel less often next year compared with 2008, according to market research company Ipsos, which surveyed about 1,000 travelers.

Its online poll, conducted last month, also found about one in four respondents had already postponed, canceled or considered cancelling trips scheduled for the final weeks of 2008.

To save money during recession, companies are looking to replace expensive business trips with conference calls or online meetings, said Jim Quilty, vice president of Ipsos’ travel and tourism division.

“Leisure and business travel expectations for 2009 are weakening,” Quilty said, adding that the financial crisis was offsetting any good news for the travel industry from falling gas prices.

Leisure travelers are also cutting back, according to the survey. About 37 percent of Americans said they will travel less often next year.

Reporting by Nick Zieminski; editing by Patricia Reaney

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