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27 March 2013 | Paul Snell
Buyers believe UK travel suppliers are less co-operative with each other than their European peers, according to a study by AirPlus.
The survey of 2,101 travel managers found just 26 per cent in the UK said they thought their suppliers collaborated professionally, for instance, to share data. This was the lowest in Europe, compared to 69 per cent in Germany, 66 per cent in Brazil and 64 per cent in France.
Some 42 per cent of buyers said their vendors never worked together, even though 71 per cent thought it would save them money as the customer and 69 per cent thought it would improve efficiency.
Yael Klein, managing director of AirPlus UK, said the industry needed to work together to address the issue. “It is something suppliers need to look at because there is a great need,” she said. “It is something we all have to tackle because customers don’t seem satisfied with what is happening.”
The research also found nine out of 10 UK business travel buyers expect to spend more money on meetings than in the past year. This was higher than the European average of 79 per cent. But although control of spend in this area is increasing, the belief that travel managers will be able to cut costs had fallen from 40 per cent in the previous year to 38 per cent.
Klein said travel managers were looking to tackle this area, and this was a great opportunity to start controlling spend on meetings and events.
The company also forecast that while business travel would remain stable in Europe and North America, there would be significant growth in emerging markets, such as India, Turkey, Brazil and China. In Europe and North America 26 and 29 per cent respectively will increase the number of business trips they take. This compares with 43 per cent in both Asia Pacific and Latin America.
“China has really opened up to professional business travel,” said AirPlus managing director Patrick Diemer. “What we understand as professional business travel is quickly becoming the norm in China.”