Corporate Hotel Spending Forecast In NBTA Survey.

Corporate travel managers project overall hotel room use to remain constant in 2002, according to an October 2001 survey conducted by the National Business Travel Association (NBTA).
The survey, conducted in conjunction with Deutsche Bank, asked 200 corporate travel managers to project the hotel spending and meeting plans of their corporations in 2002.

In the survey, 78% reported that their companies would spend the same or less on hotels in 2002, compared to 2001. This is possible because close to 40% reported that they expect no hotel rate increases next year, and approximately 40% expect rates less than in 2001. However, despite reduced hotel expenditures during the remainder of 2001 and 2002, most corporations (57%) expect to use the same amount of hotel rooms in 2002 compared to 2001.

In its 2002 Travel Cost Forecast released this week, NBTA projects that hotels will offer corporations favorable rates in the first half of 2002, but will need to recoup losses in the second half of the year. This will result in an overall increase in hotel rates of 3% for the year, lower than the traditional 5-8% increase.

While some meetings were cancelled due to the events of 9-11 and a slowing economy, NBTA`s survey indicates that demand could return in the first and second quarters. Of meetings that were postponed, 40% were rescheduled for later in 2001, 36% were rescheduled for the first quarter of 2002, and the remainder were being moved to the second, third or fourth quarters of 2002. More importantly, survey respondents reported that attendance levels at future meetings were not expected to decline as a result of the events of 9-11 or the slowing economy.

Finally, the survey asked what must occur before corporate travel expenditures would return to historic (1999-2000) levels. 58% of respondents cited revised airport security/safety systems, while 51% said improved corporate financial conditions are necessary for a return to previous spending levels.