Your international plane ticket is purchased, you've packed luggage
trying not to forget anything, and you have booked accomodations for a room in another country.
Then the light bulb goes off. Wouldn't an international conference call have worked just as well for everyone invited
to this collaboration visit ? Many times a conference call is sufficient for all involved and a face to face meeting
is not necessary.
This can be especially true when you consider roundtrip airfare expense, a hotel room, taxis, plus meals, tips,
etc. In addition, you may have more associates meeting you and of course they will have the same expenses issues.
On top of these expenses for you and your company, you've got to consider the time away. You'll be out of your
country so there will be no time with family and it won't be very easy to stay in touch with day to day business
activities back at your office while you're gone.
Most companies are rethinking, on a case by case basis, if meeting face-to-face, at a fantastically higher cost
than an international conference call,
will prove to be worth the money. It's the old bang for the buck issue.
The Cost of International Business Trips
According to American Express Business Travel's 2010 Global Business Travel Forecast, the average cost of international
business trips in 2011 is expected to be $2818. This figure doesn't include auxiliary fees that could add an additional
15 percent to the total. Using $2818 as an example, let's look at a small regional meeting attended by just five
attendees. Now let's assume that three of the attendees are arriving from other countries, each incurring similar
costs. That's $8454 so far. If this were a larger meeting, the number would rise accordingly and the host would
incur costs such as meeting room, entertainment, and banquet costs.
The Cost of International Conference Calls
Now, let's look at the price of an international conference call. These calls completely eliminate travel requirements,
so airfare, hotel, transportation, and living expenses are not required. Conference calls are charged based on
the minutes used per participant. The rates per minute do vary by participant with different rates for different
countries. In addition, mobile phones and how the call was initiated affect rates. Let's take our hypothetical
group of five participants and assign each of them a per minute rate:
- Participant 1 (USA)
- Participant 2 (Argentina)
- Participant 3 (UK)
- Participant 4 (Canada)
- Participant 5 (China)
In this example, the cost of the international conference call would be $1.28 per minute or $76.80 per hour. If
the call lasts for a full eight hour day, it would cost $614.40. As you can see, this figure is a fraction of the
cost of travel. In fact, you could schedule 13 (eight hour days) of teleconferencing and still come in under the
$8454 estimated cost for a small regional face-to-face meeting for this group.
The savings are even more dramatic when you have a larger group. What if you have 100 employees traveling from
around the world to attend your company's annual meeting? At an average business trip price of $2818, the travel
expenses would be $281,800. Plus, you'd need a large conference room to accommodate this group as well as a PA
system, catering, and other expenses.
Even if the international conference call rates for each person were at the higher end of the spectrum, holding
a conference call would cost a fraction of a face-to-face meeting. For example, at a rate of 25 cents per minute,
your call to this group would cost $25 per minute or $1500 per hour. For eight hours, you would pay $12,000 - still
a fraction of the original $281,800 estimate for travel. In fact, if you needed to hold several days of conference
calls, you'd still come out ahead dramatically.
Before you hold your next face-to-face meeting overseas, calculate the costs of an international conference call.
You can even look up rates for each participant and calculate a realistic cost per minute. Use this figure and
multiply it by the number of minutes you need and find out exactly how cost-effective international
teleconferences are compared to overseas meetings.
With international travel costs continuing to soar, hosting an international conference call makes sense. In fact,
when you compare the costs, you'll find that teleconferencing is exceptionally cost effective.
AIT offers cost-effective international conference call plans that allow you to team up with your international
partners, employees, and colleagues for a fraction of the cost of overseas business meetings. Choose a "pay
as you go" plan and stay connected while also saving money.
American Express Business Travel 2011 Global Business Travel Forecast