Carlson Wagonlit Travel said it expects “mid-single-digit declines” in net sales globally and a fall of “closer to 10 percent” in the United States in 2009.President and CEO Doug Anderson said total sales rose 7 percent in 2008 from $26 billion to $27.8 billion. The lowest growth was in the United States and France, both up 2 percent. China and Brazil were the strongest performers, up 25 percent and 24 percent, respectively, while Germany/Austria was up 11 percent and the United Kingdom up 7 percent. Anderson said new business sales were $2.4 billion worldwide last year, down from $3 billion in 2007 but still higher than $1.9 billion in 2006.
CWT clients have reduced their travel expenditure for 2009 by up to 50 percent in the most extreme cases, with 30 percent to 45 percent cuts not unusual in the banking sector, which accounts for a relatively small 8 percent of the travel management company’s volume.
“The reductions we have seen are pretty severe and being implemented really quickly,” said Anderson. One buoyant source of business, however, is the public sector, which the CWT CEO said is up in both the United States and United Kingdom.
CWT said it will be trimming its workforce by not renewing temporary contracts. However, Anderson said: “We have no plans to make massive headcount reductions in any region.”