There is light at the end of the tunnel and positive signals are changing the mood in the travel industry. Ahead of the world’s leading travel trade show the end of the global recession is also reflected by the business travel sector. This was revealed by the latest survey of members of the Association of German Travel management (VDR). In collaboration with ITB Berlin, the world’s leading platform for the global travel industry, the VDR asked its members to predict what the impact of the world economic and financial crisis would be on business travel during the current business year. Their findings: more than half of the companies that were polled, consisting of suppliers as well as German companies with their own travel management departments, are confident that there will be an upturn before this year is over. Furthermore almost a quarter of those questioned expect to see a recovery in business travel activity at the start of next year. Only ten per cent of companies expressed their concern that there would not be a recovery in business travel.
“The trend that has been revealed by the latest snap poll by the VDR is giving the industry reasons for cautious optimism. This is good news for ITB Berlin”, comments Dr. Martin Buck, Director of the Competence Centre Travel & Logistics at Messe Berlin, referring to the findings of this survey. “Stringent travel guidelines, which have met with complete acceptance within the companies, and are being consistently applied, not only offer tangible benefits for travel management but also ensure high levels of reliability and professionalism in the dealings between companies’ customers and service providers.”
The economic situation continues to have a significant impact on the business travel activities of German companies. However, following a sharp downturn a year ago there seems to have been something of a recovery. Nevertheless the situation is having a noticeable effect on cost-saving, and almost 60 per cent of VDR member companies are still paying particular attention to costs and are seeking cheaper travel options. However, the survey did reveal that cost-cutting is not being applied as rigorously as it was during the initial phase of the economic and financial crisis at the beginning of last year. Only
11 per cent of these companies are cutting out all travel which is not absolutely necessary, compared with twice as many in October 2009, according to the latest survey by the VDR.
Companies are making more use of web, video and telephone conferencing as a means of reducing their travel costs. One third of the VDR member companies that were questioned now apply such technology as a substitute for business travel. A further 20 per cent are following this trend for other reasons, such as improving internal communication. “The shift in the direction of virtual conferences is one of many topical issues being dealt with during the Business Travel Days, which are taking place during ITB Berlin”, Dr. Buck reports. “This convention will provide decision-makers in travel management with a valuable stimulus for addressing strategies when the crisis is over. Experts will be explaining, for example, the extent to which the use of telecommunications can replace face-to-face discussions.”
The snap poll was conducted among the 512 members of the VDR at the beginning of February. A total of 126 companies took part.