Amex study reveals European travel budgets will remain static

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Amex study reveals European travel budgets will remain static

Corporate travel managers are doing everything they can to maximize the return on investment of business travel while reducing expenditure. Serviced apartments and corporate housing could be seen by many travel management professionals as an alternative to often-costly corporate suites at chain hotels. Despite lingering economic uncertainties across Europe, many companies are holding firm with regard to travel budgets.

A stoic outlook
Reuters reports that, according to a recent survey conducted by American Express (Amex) Global Business Travel, many European companies have no intention of reducing their corporate travel budgets next year. Just 14 percent of the organizations polled as part of Amex Global Business Travel's annual Barometer study indicated their plans to cut funding for corporate travel next year.

While this may still be a substantial figure, it reveals growing confidence in the business travel sector, as during the same period in 2011, more than 21 percent of businesses polled indicated that budgets would be cut. In previous years, reductions were even more severe, with 40 and 66 percent reported in 2010 and 2009 respectively.

"Companies across Europe recognize that business travel is an important investment that adds value and drives business growth," said Anthony Drury, vice president and general manager of American Express Global Business Travel's U.K. and Nordic branches, as quoted by the news source. "Our Barometer helps companies understand how to maximize their business travel spend by providing an overview of trends and best practices in Europe."

Small measures, big difference
According to ICTM, many businesses across Europe are leveraging every advantage at their disposal to reduce the costs of business travel without compromising on budgets. Steps that professional travel management companies are taking include purchasing air tickets in advance, using preferred supplier lists, booking accommodations online, placing greater enforcements on corporate travel policies, and using lower-cost options. This could include selecting corporate apartments instead of hotel suites at chain properties.

Cost control, optimization of travel expenses and heightened focus on traveler safety are among the top priorities for a majority of European businesses moving into 2013. However, while the need to reduce costs and maximize return on investment are paramount to many organizations, so too is the need to secure suitable accommodations for executives and ensure the happiness and well-being of travelers, with 30 percent of companies focusing on increasing traveler satisfaction.