Corporate Executives Mixed on Future Travel Spending Says Survey

According to a recent survey
conducted by BusinessWeek Research Services on behalf of GetThere and the
Association of Corporate Travel Executives (ACTE), corporate financial executives
have mixed expectations for future travel spending.  Survey results also
indicate an increasing understanding of the benefits of a tightly managed
corporate travel program.  As executives become more active in determining
how to best manage travel costs, many view online corporate travel systems
as a key driver for cost reduction.
Results indicate financial executives are more involved in their companies’
travel management program than in the past.  At the same time, there was a
clear difference between the two groups that were surveyed.  Surveys were
issued to a board of BusinessWeek readers and a group of senior financial
executives closely associated with ACTE.  Those associated with ACTE showed
much more involvement in the specifics of the travel program, including the
creation and approval of corporate travel policies and evaluation of travel
expenditures.  The ACTE sample also tied travel savings more closely to
their companies’ bottom line.

The survey showed that 74 percent of the ACTE sample, and 47 percent of the
BusinessWeek sample, believe travel savings have a meaningful impact on the
bottom line.  In addition, 90 percent of the ACTE sample has implemented
specific measures including the use of an online booking system to reduce
travel costs, compared with just 42 percent of the BusinessWeek sample.

The survey also indicated a significant surge in the use of online booking,
with nearly 40 percent of respondents saying their company has deployed an
online system, and 80 percent of those companies seeing cost-savings as a
result.  Again, the ACTE sample showed a much greater uptake, with 82
percent using online compared with just 29 percent of the BusinessWeek

“These results reinforce findings from GetThere’s annual corporate travel
benchmark survey that shows financial executive involvement is key to
effective travel management and strategic cost reductions.  And, both
surveys show a significant increase in companies using online technology to
strategically reduce costs,” according to Tony D’Astolfo, senior vice
president at GetThere.

Key Research Findings:

While a third of the survey respondents were optimistic about increasing
their travel spending next year, most continue to focus on finding the best
travel values and effective tools to reduce costs.  Additional research
findings include:
- In 2004, 35 percent of respondents expect to spend more on corporate
travel, and nearly half the respondents expect to spend about the same as
this year, but 57 percent said they would also focus heavily on minimizing
travel costs
- Of those planning to reduce corporate travel spending, 62 percent say it
is only a temporary reduction
- 64 percent of companies are adjusting travel policies to reduce travel
costs, which is the second most common practice for reducing costs,
following limiting travel
- 95 percent believe travel expenditures have a major impact on their bottom
- While 96 percent of respondents are concerned with assigning ROI metrics
to travel expenditures, only 19 percent have ROI metrics in place
- 84 percent are considering changes in how online technology is used to
plan and manage corporate travel
- The number of companies who have implemented an online travel system has
jumped to nearly 40 percent this year, and nearly 80 percent see
cost-savings as a result


Survey Methodology

Results are based on a survey of two independent databases.  The first, the
BusinessWeek Market Advisory Board, is an online research panel consisting
of BusinessWeek subscribers and online users.  This sample was limited to
senior managers that have corporate finance responsibilities (C-levels,
presidents, senior vice presidents/executive vice presidents) and work for
companies with more than 1,000 employees.  The second database was pulled
from an e-mail list consisting of 237 ACTE members.  All surveys were
completed on a secure web site, managed by InsightExpress, Inc., an
independent market research firm.  A total of 437 online surveys were
completed between September 11 and 19, 2003.