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19 October 2012 | Adam Leach
Travel buyers will have more work to do by 2017, as they manage a bigger spend covering more flights, while just a minority of departments will increase headcount.
A study published yesterday surveyed 282 travel buyers from across the globe on what they think the business travel market will look like in 2017. It found the majority believe both the number of trips, 55 per cent, and the overall value of travel spend, 71 per cent, will be higher. Further, just 27 per cent expect their company to take on extra staff to deal with the increased level of work.
Instead, companies will look to technology and third-party contractors to help manage the workload. The report found 65 per cent of buyers expected end-to-end solutions - that cover travel booking and expenses in one process - to be the strategy that becomes most important in 2017. Buyers also expected a shift towards more mobile accessibility, with 60 per cent expecting data consolidation and reporting through social, local and mobile tools to be important.
The report, which was carried out by Radius Travel in partnership with the Association of Corporate Travel Executives, also concluded travel costs will be higher than today, while a minority of travel managers believed video conferencing will play a major role in reducing travel.
In order to prepare for this changed environment, the report recommends buyers investigate video-conferencing and other virtual meeting alternatives, start discussions about the strategic impacts of globalisation on travel programmes and understand what resources they will need to manage future demand.