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Travel Management

 February 17, 2010
CWT Performance Indicators For 2009

 Key performance indicators for Carlson Wagonlit Travel (CWT) testify to the unusual challenges the travel industry and most other businesses confronted during the global recession of 2009, the company reported.

Total CWT transactions for 2009 were down 9.3 percent* compared to 2008. Sales volume, which totaled US $21.4 billion**, fell 22.8 percent year over year. The higher drop in volume versus transactions demonstrates the aggressive cost-cutting measures companies took to reduce their travel spend and was seen in all regions. Volume in Asia Pacific and EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) was impacted most, declining by 27.6 percent and 27.1 percent respectively. In Latin America, volume declined 21.2 percent year over year, while North America saw a 17.4-percent decrease over the same period.

CWT reported annualized new sales, excluding renewals, of US $1.86 billion for 2009, a year that saw an unusually high number of companies ascertain competitive market conditions by putting their managed travel programs out for bid. CWT also enjoyed a 96-percent client retention rate. Furthermore, the proportion of "satisfied" and "very satisfied" travel managers increased to 94 percent in 2009 from 90 percent one year earlier.

Describing the economic environment in 2009 as "extraordinary," Douglas Anderson, CWT president & CEO, said: "Carlson Wagonlit Travel, like every other company in the travel industry, confronted unique challenges in 2009. We successfully managed unprecedented change and worked our way through a global recession the likes of which none of us has ever seen. Our commitment to excellence and the highest levels of customer service never wavered. We also enhanced our offering to respond to clients' evolving needs. These efforts will serve us well in the year ahead and enable CWT to reinforce its global leadership in what will continue to be a challenging business environment."

2009 Business Highlights

CWT continued to focus on initiatives that would enable clients to derive greater value from their managed travel program. Among the highlights for 2009:

- CWT Itinerary & E-Ticket was launched in Europe to enable travelers and travel arrangers to manage reservations more easily and efficiently before and during a business trip. The itinerary and electronic ticket are combined into a concise, easy-to-read document that clearly identifies the status of the traveler's booking and any actions to be taken.

- Enhancements were made to CWT Policy Builder and CWT Policy Messenger, two proprietary solutions companies use to create or optimize travel policies and drive compliance. Available in seven languages, CWT Policy Builder now features predictive modeling that uncovers potential savings from travel policy changes and increased compliance. CWT Policy Messenger automatically delivers targeted, customizable emails to travelers, travel arrangers and/or supervisors. Increased compliance and a better understanding of travel-related health and safety issues are among the key benefits. In 2009, a multilingual user interface was added for greater ease of use worldwide.

- CWT reinforced its demand management offering by teaming up with Tata Communications to provide CWT Telepresence, which enables CWT clients to conduct virtual meetings through the Tata Communications network of Cisco TelePresence suites around the world.

- The CWT Travel Management Institute conducted in-depth research demonstrating how companies can reduce hotel spend by up to21 percent. Room for Savings: Optimizing Hotel Spend identifies seven steps that help companies drive savings in an area that represents on average nearly 40 percent of their total travel budget.

- CWT declared its support for the new global health initiative MASSIVEGOOD. The project was created by the Millennium Foundation for Innovative Finance for Health and will allow travelers to make a voluntary "micro-contribution" when they book travel services. Contributions will go toward fighting HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis in developing countries.

Key Priorities for 2010

Having seen the company's business stabilize at the end of 2009, Mr. Anderson remains "cautiously optimistic" about the next 12 months. He points to lingering economic uncertainty in some countries and potentially "soft" GDP growth overall. He adds: "Many of our clients tell us they will increase their travel this year to drive their business development. But they will remain cost-conscious and place great importance on 'productive' travel. CWT will do everything it takes to successfully accompany them in this value-driven effort."

In keeping with Mr. Anderson's assessment, a recent CWT survey of travel managers from client companies worldwide shows that optimizing hotel spend, improving traveler compliance, optimizing simple bookings, and driving air and ground transportation savings are their top four areas of higher priority for 2010.

CWT will continue to focus on increasing efficiency at the point of sale and reinforce its strategy for driving online adoption. Helping clients optimize their hotel spend by implementing a well-designed, well-sourced hotel program that drives compliance also remains high on the company's agenda. Delivering innovative products and services that enable business travelers to be well informed and more productive from booking through return is another top priority for CWT. As companies strive to bridge their transient travel programs and their meetings and events for greater control and savings, CWT will continue to deploy its multi-tier, end-to-end Meetings & Events solutions worldwide. Furthermore, the CWT Travel Management Institute is currently conducting in-depth research that will enable companies to optimize the management of their meetings and events program. Expanding CWT's already robust Energy Services offering is a key priority as well.

"CWT is well positioned to meet its objectives," Mr. Anderson concluded. "Our people have the know-how and the spirit that spell customer satisfaction and success."

* Includes air, hotel and ground transportation for wholly owned operations and joint ventures
** Actual sales volume at current exchange rates; includes air, hotel and ground transportation for wholly owned operations and joint ventures