Business travel buyers to maximise budgets in 2013

7 December 2012

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8 December 2012 | Anna Reynolds

Business travel buyers will keep the same budgets for 2013 but are looking for ways to maximise their spend, according to a survey by American Express.

The Barometer survey interviewed 567 people responsible for travel budgets including finance directors, procurement managers and CFOs at companies across Europe. Carried out in September, it found that 23 per cent of companies increased business travel spend this year and 72 per cent will maintain the same budget for 2013.

To maximise travel budgets companies will renegotiate supplier agreements, closely monitor hotel expenses, do more advanced ticket purchases, use preferred suppliers and make more use of online tools.

Anthony Drury, vice president of American Express global business travel, UK and Nordics, said: “Companies across Europe recognise that business travel is an important investment that adds value and drives business growth.”

The survey identified hotels as a new area of concern for procurement teams, with over half (54 per cent) of companies monitoring spend within this category and 88 per cent including it as the first item on their travel policy, followed by air, meetings and events and rail/car rental.

Further, companies are continuing to focus on cost control and looking for ways to secure better returns on investment (ROI) with 59 per cent using a travel management company as their main source of reporting on ROI.

The survey found the top priorities for 2013 are cost control (80 per cent), traveller safety (45 per cent) and having an overview of travel expenses (41 per cent). In line with this, the top 10 most purchased services by respondents for 2013 included 24/7 support, online booking solutions, rerouting travellers, air fare sourcing and improved buying strategies.

Six-in-10 companies said that travel budgets are controlled by a centralised executive such as a CFO or CPO and more than 90 per cent of large companies have a travel policy. Smaller businesses are adopting this practice (74 per cent) and half of micro businesses also claim to have a policy in place.

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