Buyers' role in corporate travel 'will increase'

5 February 2007
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05 February 2007 | Amon Cohen

Procurement continues to strengthen its grip on corporate travel, according to a recent study.

The 2007 AirPlus Travel Management Study of more than 1,000 travel buyers in 10 countries shows that 53 per cent of UK respondents agree the role played by procurement departments will increase. A further 27 per cent "somewhat agree" that it will.

Globally, 44 per cent agree procurement is increasing its role and 26 per cent somewhat agree. Among larger spenders (which, in the UK means a travel budget of more than £2 million), the figures are even higher; 64 per cent agree and 21 per cent somewhat agree.

Only 13 per cent disagree with the notion that travel is increasingly being controlled at the whole company or global level - another sign that firms are tightening their hold. In the UK, the number of companies that have centralised their business travel programme has increased from 53 per cent last year to 63 per cent this year.

Other areas of the survey suggest companies will need all the purchasing discipline they can muster to keep a lid on rising travel costs. Fifty per cent of UK buyers believe their travel expenditure will rise this year, although 22 per cent believe it will fall.

Air travel remains the biggest slice of travel expenditure for UK buyers (51 per cent), followed by hotel costs (20 per cent). Those who contract with suppliers appear to be achieving impressive results, with UK buyers saying they negotiate an average 23 per cent discount from airlines and 24 per cent from hotels.

SMfeb2007

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