Travel buyers' top 10 challenges for 2015

7 January 2015

The number of European business travel buyers with increasing budgets has dropped slightly this year, a survey has shown.

Some 33 per cent of travel buyers responding to the Business Travel Show poll will have more money to spend in 2015, compared with 37 per cent last year and 39 per cent in 2012.

Of the 179 respondents 45 per cent expect to manage more trips this year, down from 48 per cent last year. Just under half (47 per cent) expect their overall costs to rise.

“Minimising cost increases in an apparently recovering economy remains a huge challenge for business travel buyers in 2015,” said Martin Searle, senior category manager – travel services at Xchanging.

Buyers said the biggest concern they face this year is airline price increases and the lack of transparency during negotiation.

However, 36 per cent of buyers enjoyed bigger airline budgets in 2014 and a further third predict these budgets for air travel will increase again this year.

“The biggest issue facing me as a buyer in 2015 is managing the airline category thanks to ancillary fees, NDC [IATA’s New Distribution Capability aimed at standardising distribution processes] and changes in traffic flow,” said Ruediger Bruss, purchasing manager at Continental.

David Chapple, event director, Business Travel Show, added: “This year’s survey shows budgets are continuing to head in the right direction, but there is no doubt that buyers are still under pressure to buy smarter, negotiate harder and stretch their budgets for maximum results.”

Top 10 issues facing buyers in 2015:

1. Airline pricing – increases, lack of transparency and negotiation concerns

2. Controlling costs and managing spend

3. Compliance and enforcing policy adherence

4. Increased hotel rates

5. Traveller safety

6. Cost savings

7. Ancillary fees

8. The role of travel management companies

9. Online adoption

10. Cost increases

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