To drive down costs, many employers are setting stricter policies for business travel, while making better use of day trips and Web conferencing, according to Rearden Commerce.

In a survey of 30 corporate travel managers with hundreds of business clients nationwide, 71 percent reported a decline in the overall number of business trips, the Foster City, Calif.-based online services firm reported this week.

Another 88 percent said they've seen business travel approval requirements skyrocket in recent months, while 82 percent said employers were putting lower costs ahead of comfort and convenience.

"Travel and entertainment is the second largest controllable expense, behind labor, so it is no surprise companies are looking to control this expense in today's economic climate," Rearden Commerce CEO Patrick Grady said in a statement.

Other approaches to cutting travel costs included a greater reliance on Web conferencing, along with arranging more day trips or seeking out budget hotel accommodations, the survey found.