US splurges on business travel… but not for long

22 September 2011

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22 September 2011 | Adam Leach

US companies are more likely to reimburse
their employees’ hotel and travel fees than European firms.

According to the 2011 Corporate Travel Policy Study, published by Egencia, the largest discrepancy was with fitness centres. Only 7 per cent of European companies polled said they would cover fees incurred by an employee looking to hit the hotel treadmill, while 21 per cent of US companies would be willing to cover the cost. US companies were also more likely to pay for baggage fees, hotel parking, airport shuttle transport and in-flight meals.

The areas where European companies were willing to outspend their US counterparts were early check-in, late check-out, in-room safes, priority seating, extra legroom, priority boarding and in-flight entertainment. There was cross-continental consensus on employees raiding the mini-bar with only 9 per cent prepared to reimburse employees.

However, spending may soon go down on all fronts as travel managers find themselves under increased pressure to cut costs amid a rise in ancillary fees, according to a survey conducted at the 2011 Global Business Travel Association Convention by Rearden Commerce.

Of those travel managers surveyed, 42 per cent were in favour of cutting back on non-essential travel. The most likely cutback, however, is with food, as 46 per cent of those surveyed said they planned to reduce reimbursement of meals. Non-air travel was another contender for scaling back with 28 per cent saying ground transportation would be the next obvious place to curb spending.

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