15 November 2001
Tensions are rising between large corporate travel managers and their travel agents in the aftermath of the 11 September terrorist attacks.
Agents are unlikely to get the business they contracted for this year, said Colin Brain, director of travel consultant Management Solutions UK. But corporate travel buyers are having to consider the effect of reduced travel for this year on their budgets and negotiating strength with agents for 2002.
"BA's first-class bookings are down 60 per cent on North American routes. A 20 to 25 per cent reduction on transactions is not uncommon for agents," said Brain, speaking after a one-day forum arranged by Management Solutions and the Institute of Travel Management in London this month.
Pirelli Cables is looking more closely at whether travel is necessary and is in talks with its travel agent, Carlson Wagonlit, about the fall in activity. "We've seen a sharp rise in videoconferencing," said Mary Jane Halnan, who handles corporate travel for Pirelli.