02 October 2003 | Liam O'Brien
Travel managers are increasingly required to be more strategic but this is not reflected in their salaries, according to a survey by the Institute of Travel Management (ITM).
The second annual survey of 200 ITM members shows that more companies are replacing traditional low-level travel buyers with highly trained purchasers.
ITM members are now more often in charge of travel policy formulation, contract negotiation, management information systems and production, and tendering for a travel management partnership company.
The most important challenge for the manager remains lowering travel costs, followed by traveller security, according to the poll.
But this responsibility has not fuelled salary growth, with about a quarter of managers earning between £15,000 and £25,000.
Around 69 per cent of buyers earn less than £45,000 despite half of them controlling 80 per cent or more of budgets in excess of £5 million.
A major annual salary survey from CIPS and the Croner Reward Group found that the average salary for a purchasing director across all sectors was £67,700.
Ian Nurdin, vice-chairman of the ITM and business travel manager for Nestlé UK, told SM: "The survey shows that travel managers now work at a more strategic level with the day-to-day operations often left to a travel management company. But the large savings they deliver are not reflected in their rewards."
Despite the global economic downturn, the war in Iraq and recent outbreak of Sars in North America and China, British business spent more on travel in the past year than in the year following the 11 September 2001 attacks.
Although spending across the sector was up on 2001-02 levels, organisations insist on getting more for their money.
An almost 50 per cent increase in the number of flight bookings produced a growth in overall spending of only 33 per cent.
Similarly, in the hotel sector, a 39 per cent rise in transactions increased spending by 28 per cent.