Firms rack up travel spend

22 August 2011

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22 August 2011 | Adam Leach

Companies have increased the amount they spend on air travel by 9.3 per cent, according to a report.

The Travel Expense Report, published on Friday by Concur, found that the average spend on flights was $446.87 (£271) – up 9 per cent from last year and 2.3 per cent on the last quarter. Overall, airfares made up 23 per cent of total business travel spending.

The report, which used data from Concur’s 15,000 clients, also reported year-on-year increases of 5.6 per cent on hotels and 4.9 per cent in entertainment. However, spending on car rentals dropped by 0.3 per cent compared with a year ago and the last quarter.

Barry Padgett, Concur’s senior vice president and general manager of Europe, said: “The fact that businesses are taking a more relaxed approach to expense spending compared with last year shows that they remain committed to face-to-face interaction and social engagement with customers, partners and colleagues. These activities are integral to doing business in any country and while the austerity of recent years has taken its toll, it’s encouraging to see them rekindling.”

In June, the International Air Transport Association downgraded its profit forecast for the airline industry by 52 per cent to $8.6 billion (£5.2 billion), largely as a result of high fuel prices.

Following this, Paul Tilstone, chief executive of the Institute of Travel & Meetings, indicated that he expected airlines to try to offset some of the fuel cost rises by increasing passenger prices. He said they would also try to bypass travel management companies by adding services such as airline lounges and chauffeurs directly to the bill of the traveller.

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