American Express Global Business Travel has announced the results of its 2015 EVP Barometer.
The results show that business travel spending increased by 1.42 per cent in 2015, more than twice the rise anticipated in the 2014 Barometer.
In addition, “safety and security” has overtaken “cost control” to be the number one priority of company executives when considering business travel.
“Traveller satisfaction” is ranked the number three priority.
When it comes to cost control and optimising costs, this year efforts appear to be more focused on improving processes than on the direct costs themselves.
Process improvements include: online and expense management tools, and more consideration to the nature and purpose of travel before booking trips.
Elyes Mrad, managing director of EMEA at American Express Global Business Travel stated: “This year, we are proud to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the annual American Express Global Business Travel Barometer.
“The Barometer reveals that respondents are optimistic when it comes to business travel spending, however they continue to perceive business travel as a cost, rather than an investment.
“This demonstrates that calculating the return-on-investment of business travel is still a challenge for companies.”
Key findings from the Barometer include:
The Barometer points out that half of the companies’ surveyed aim to grow their businesses by expanding abroad over the next year, compared to 38 per cent in 2014.
Furthermore, the study shows that one third of respondents plan to increase their business travel budgets within the next three years, compared to 18 per cent in 2014.
However, 76 per cent of respondents still view business travel as a necessary cost, compared with 24 per cent who see it as an investment.
Further, 21 per cent of the participants said they would be interested in being more informed on how they can measure the return-on-investment of their business travel.
The Barometer also points to a considerable boost in the importance of traveller satisfaction, which leapt up to third place among companies’ priorities from sixth place last year.
Half of respondents now measure the satisfaction of their business travellers, compared to 45 per cent last year; and 22 per cent use this feedback to improve their travel policies.
Travel managers appear to be mindful that the adoption of tools and processes which positively affect the travel experience, such as itinerary management, incorporation of mobile technologies and new means of payment or expense reconciliation, has a direct impact on travellers’ satisfaction and productivity.