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    7-Eleven to Launch New Plan to Combat Travel Costs

    Increasing airline, hotel and rental car costs lead the retailer to rework internal meetings.

    DALLAS -- As travel costs increase nationwide, corporations such as 7-Eleven are looking for new ways to make the most of business trips.

    The convenience store retailer, based here, is exploring new travel options, such as an online booking tool and adjusting booking times to make the most of the travel budget, the Dallas Morning News
    reported.

    The average cost of a domestic trip in 2008 is expected to rise 6 percent, or $63, to $1,110, while overseas trips are forecast to rise 7 percent, or $205, to $3,171, the report stated, citing research by American Express Business Travel.

    The travel manager for the company, Mona Crisp, told the paper 7-Eleven is trying to hold its travel budget flat for 2008 by being savvier on trip planning, including how employees plan for trips.

    Instead of booking airline tickets a week before departure, "our average is now 14 to 21 days in advance," Crisp told the Morning
    News
    . "Our employees have educated themselves and become smart travelers."

    In addition, 7-Eleven is tackling expenses from internal meetings. The franchiser holds eight internal trade shows a year, which require 200 to 300 hotel rooms, and will implement an online tool that makes it easier to receive proposals from hotels, and to identify where
    employees should book travel plans, the report stated.

    A recent study by the National Business Travel Association found that 16 percent of travel managers reported they would restrict business-class airline tickets to cut costs -- up from last year's 8
    percent of managers who said they would limit the premium-class tickets, the report stated.

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