Travel buyers cut costs with range of solutions

29 January 2013

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29 January 2013 | Anna Reynolds

Travel buyers worldwide are taking very different approaches to saving money, according to the Carlson Wagonlit Travel (CWT) Travel Manager Survey.

The research, based on responses from 800 travel managers worldwide, revealed cost reduction measures vary depending on region. North American travel buyers aim to further consolidate their travel programmes and standardise processes (35 per cent), while buyers in Asia Pacific intend to focus on improving travel compliance (66 per cent) and mandating preferred booking channels.

Travel managers in Latin America are implementing advanced booking rules and strengthening car rental policies (59 per cent), whereas buyers from Europe, the Middle East and Africa are tightening air and rail policies to drive down costs (64 per cent).

Christophe Renard, vice president marketing, communications and business intelligence at CWT, said in a statement: “The challenging economic climate means that there is continued pressure on buyers to both reduce costs and manage travel in a more cost-effective way.

“As air and ground travel represents the majority of spend within a travel programme, it is not surprising that it is the number one priority for most travel buyers, even though it is an area that is already well advanced in terms of optimisation.”

The report also outlines some of the challenges travel buyers expect to face over the coming year. CWT said companies can no longer ignore the need for a social media strategy or use of tools such as corporate hotel review sites, and virtual solutions for meetings and events. The adoption of online booking tools will continue to rise, while more airlines will begin to embrace new virtual travel agents.

Furthermore, companies can expect to see a slight growth in the more developed business travel markets with faster growth in developing countries. Business travel spend in Brazil, India and China is forecast to increase at around twice the pace of the world average (12.6 per cent, 21.5 per cent and 12.4 per cent respectively, compared to 8.1 per cent globally).

In addition when considering supplier proposals, travel managers will increasingly consider the total cost, including ancillary fees, which now represent 5-10 per cent of companies’ total travel budgets.

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