Faced with a stalled economy and a rise in travel costs, travel managers for U.S. corporations are taking measures to reduce travel budgets in 2002, according to a National Business Travel Association survey.
“In these economic times, American corporations are focused on the bottom line,” said Marianne McInerney, executive director at NBTA.
Results indicated the areas most heavily targeted by managers for cost reductions are air expenditures (58%) and hotel purchases (57%).
“Last year, we saw many corporations reducing overall travel,” said McInerney.
“In 2002, they are getting back on the road by using lower-priced options.”
To reduce air costs, travel managers are booking flights on discount airlines (51%), booking flights more than a week ahead of time (61%) and using alternative airports (43%).
To trim hotel costs, 60% of travel managers said their firms are reducing nonessential travel and 52% are cutting the number of meetings at hotels.
Other cost-reduction methods mentioned in the survey were the increased use of videoconferencing and online booking.
When asked which factors they thought would dramatically increase corporate travel costs in 2002, travel managers listed consolidation in the airline industry (56%), increased disparities in leisure and business fares (46%) and a continued slide in the economy (41%).
Disparities between leisure and business fares are a hot topic for travel managers, according to the NBTA.
About half of those surveyed (48%) responded that supplier discounts intended to stimulate leisure travel had no visible impact on corporate travel purchases because continued restrictions make these discounts impractical for business travel.