Resurgence for UK business travel

4 November 2010

4 November 2010 | Angeline Albert

Business travel continues to show signs of a slow but steady recovery with air transport, rail travel, hotel bookings and car hire on the increase.

The Guild of Travel Management Companies (GTMC) quarterly survey monitors members’ transactions across a range of categories. For the third quarter in a row, the signs of recovery are seen in all categories – unlike the same period the previous year.

The number of air transactions was up by 12 per cent this quarter, having exceeded 2008 levels for the first time. In quarter three 2010 there were 1,588,477 air transactions up from 1,424,351 in the same period in 2009.

The number of hotel bookings increased by 10 per cent when compared with the same quarter the previous year. This is 834,353 hotel booking transactions in 2010 quarter three up from 756,758 in quarter three 2009. This is the first double-digit rise since the first quarter of 2008. 

Rail has been the strongest performer of the past 18 months. It had a small increase in quarter three, up 7 per cent to 1,086,720 transactions. The number of transactions just about matches those in the same quarter in 2009. 

Car hire also has been a strong performer in the past three months, up 10 per cent in 2010 quarter three to 65,757 transactions when compared to the same quarter in 2009.

Ann Godfrey, chief executive of the GTMC, whose members account for 80 per cent of business travel spend in the UK, said: “The survey of transactions by GTMC members is indicating that recovery in the business travel sector is slow but steady. The real sign that business travel is on the up is the encouraging recovery of air travel and with the first double-digit increase in hotel bookings, since the first quarter of 2008, it would appear that business travellers are not just making business trips but are staying overnight.”

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