The business travel industry has kick-started the new decade with a buzz of optimism as a survey of 1,400 business travel managers by the Business Travel & Meetings Show (BTMS) reveals more than a quarter (27 per cent) of budgets will be boosted for 2010 and 35 per cent of buyers plan to book more trips.
The survey also revealed that around half (46 per cent) of budgets will remain stable, and just 27 per cent of managers will have less money to spend. Four in ten buyers will manage the same number of trips and only one quarter will make fewer bookings. Healthier budgets appear to have encouraged a healthier outlook generally, with over three quarters (76 per cent) of the industry believing the UK will be out of recession by the end of the year and only 12 per cent dreading that it will drag on beyond 2011.
But despite having more money in the coffers this year, buyers are being very careful spending it. As many as 81 per cent admit they are being forced to adopt even stricter travel policies for 2010. 44 per cent, for example, will be booking lower class airline tickets, 22 per cent lower quality accommodation and 46 per cent plan to increase their use of video conferencing.
David Chapple, event director, Business Travel & Meetings Show, commented: “The business travel industry has been through a very bumpy ride over the last 18 months, so these survey results are a much needed glimmer of optimism as we enter a new decade: a sign that things are back on track and we are heading in the right direction.
“But what the survey also makes clear is that, while budgets and travel plans are stabilising and in some instances growing, managers are still facing huge pressure from the board room to get more for their money. At BTMS, we help managers to cut costs, stretch their budgets and save time by introducing them to 200 world-leading suppliers ready to fight for their business and by giving them access to an educational programme that will teach them how, when and with whom to negotiate for even better deals and more value for their programmes.”
BT Global’s travel category manager Jan Tucker Jones, agreed: “The current economic climate gives all travel managers a great opportunity to get senior manager buy-in to cost effective travel reduction programmes. It is imperative to the success of any programme to have a clear procurement strategy that includes close scrutiny of all areas and in particular compliance.”