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Wired for Travel
CNBC.com | January 13, 2012 | 04:28 PM EST

"It's a huge increase in productivity," says Chris McGinnis, business travel expert and director of Travel Skills Group. "But it puts a lot more pressure on the business traveler to be more productive. Luckily, technology has kept up and productivity has increased. It's made it easier to react quickly to the changing business environment."

The most important tech tools, naturally, have been the cell phone and email, making anyone accessible any time.

A close second, though, is in-flight Wi-Fi. While adoption rates are still fairly low among air carriers, it has become a key factor for most business travelers when deciding which airline to fly.

All of these efficiency advances also make it more affordable to send someone on the road — and with the economic uncertainty of the past few years, that's critical.

The recession of 2008 had a devastating impact on the world of business travel. As stock prices plunged, companies quickly cut back their travel budgets, hoping to shore up their bottom line.

It wasn't until 2010 that frequent fliers were set loose once again on a broad scale — with road warriors logging 448 million overnight business trips , according to the U.S. Travel Association. But the European currency crisis further threatened that recovery. Bookings, which were soaring a year ago, began to level off toward the end of last summer.

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