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Travel Management

 February 05, 2008
AirPlus International Travel Management Study 2008

 Responsibilities for travel managers continue to grow. According to the third AirPlus International Travel Management Study, 44 per cent of respondents across the world expect travel management to increasingly absorb event management, up from 35 per cent last year. At the same time, companies predict a strong growth in business trips for 2008 with costs going up as well, albeit not at the same rate.

The survey interviewed 1,000 travel managers in ten different countries (nine European countries and the US) about travel management within their organisations and their expectations for 2008. The opinion that travel management will be looking after MICE related tasks in the future is particularly prevalent amongst UK interviewees -- 49 per cent expected to be taking care of event management in the future. Yael Klein, Managing Director of AirPlus International Ltd, commented, "Even if the ten countries still show a lot of differences between each other, an integration of MICE into travel management seems unavoidable. After all, many MICE processes are similar to traditional travel buying processes and organisations can benefit from the synergies between both areas."

The UK and US are particular trendsetters in this area. This could be connected to the fact that companies in the UK take their travel management seriously. When it comes to investing time in travel management, the UK is right at the top of the tree along with the US and ahead all the other European countries. The UK clearly has immense respect for travel management, with 73 per cent saying their company considers it important -- more than any other country.

Corporate Rates Still On The Rise

Travel buyers feel that their negotiations with service providers are bearing fruit, with savings through corporate rates estimated to be around 16 per cent. Compared to the previous year, buyers have negotiated more corporate rates with hotels (up by 10 per cent), car rental companies (up by 6 per cent), and rail (up by 5 per cent). Only air bucks the trend, where corporate rates have gone down to 55 per cent from 59 percent in 2007.

Scepticism Continues Over Cost Analysis

Only 30 per cent of respondents use analysis tools to analyse what they have spent on travel although the benefits are well understood with 66 per cent agreeing that analysis tools offer optimum cost transparency. Klein added, "Only special analysis tools can deliver real savings to organisations. At the same time they allow companies to monitor travel policy compliance."

Focus On Cost And Processes

Optimising internal processes has become a focal point in the search for savings. While all ten countries considered cost savings as the most important travel management job, seven out of the countries ranked improving internal processes second. This means the trend towards a more process focussed travel management observed over the last few years continues.

Procurement And Finance Continue To Tighten Their Grip

The growing role of procurement is widely credited with having improved the professionalism of travel management. This year's study suggests the influence will become even more profound with 51 per cent of interviewees saying the role of procurement in travel will increase. As will the role of finance departments, expected to grow their influence by 63 per cent, up from already 55 per cent last year.

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