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24 March 2014 | Gurjit Degun
More than 40 per cent of travel managers across the world expect business travel costs to rise in 2014, according to a survey by AirPlus.
The ninth International Travel Management Study said that rising cost is the greatest concern among travel buyers for five years. Of the 958 travel managers in 24 countries questioned, 31 per cent expect a rise in the number of business trips. More than half expect no change in the number of business trips.
"Some companies believe they will pay more in 2014 for reasons other than a simple increase in volume of travel," the report said. "The figures suggest companies will also pay more per trip. Prices are indeed rising in many markets as demand hardens."
These predictions differ widely in various regions. AirPlus said that travel managers in Turkey have the most positive view for the year ahead – 73 per cent believe there will be more business trips, compared with 50 per cent last year. Fellow travel managers in emerging markets such as Brazil, India and South Africa have similar views at 60 per cent, 53 per cent and 47 per cent, respectively.
“The situation is different in countries that are still beset by the economic crisis,” the report added. “In Spain, for example, a larger proportion of travel managers expect a decrease in business travel.”
“Despite major regional differences, this trend from previous years remains stable, and points to sustained recovery of the business travel market,” said Patrick Diemer, chairman of the management board at AirPlus. “If we look at the development in travel spend. We can see the growing importance of professional travel management to control travel costs.”
AirPlus also found that the health and well-being of travellers has the strongest influence on travel management, with 50 per cent of respondents pointing this out. The report said that this proves that travel management is not just about controlling costs as 66 per cent of respondents said they find it increasingly hard to balance cost management and traveller support priorities.
Almost 50 per cent of those surveyed pointed to environmental awareness having a strong influence on travel management, 47 per cent said technology has a strong influence, and 41 per cent of travel managers expected to be affected by employees working from home.