Financial climate failing to deter many executives from business travel
Monday, January 7, 2013
While the fiscal cliff was narrowly averted by last-minute agreements in the Senate, the threat of mandatory government spending cuts has many executives worried about what to expect on February 28. Experts in the global business travel sector predicted that many companies would reduce the amount of business trips taken by executives in 2013, but according to The Salt Lake Tribune, such projections may have been premature.
Advancing the status quo
The news source reports that, according to the Travel Leaders Group, many of its members claim they will invest as much, if not more, in business travel this year than in 2012. The organization's Travel Trends Survey revealed that 80 percent of its clients intend to travel as much as they did last year, and many expect to increase the amount of trips taken by executives. Less than 10 percent of survey respondents indicated they would reduce the amount of business travel in 2013.
However, while many companies polled said they would maintain the status quo in terms of business travel, cost savings were still a priority for a substantial number of organizations. Approximately 42 percent of the 335 affiliated travel partners surveyed said reducing costs of business travel was important moving into 2013.
"Finding ways to trim costs and save on business travel are still paramount," said Barry Liben, chief executive officer of the Travel Leaders Group, as quoted by the news source.
Many of the trends identified by the report could indicate that the market for serviced apartments and corporate housing could expand, as travelers seek more cost-effective accommodations.
The report also revealed that Mondays were the most expensive day in terms of prices for corporate suites in chain hotel properties. Many executives expressed concerns over surcharges related to staying in typical executive rooms, including parking fees, wireless internet access charges and resort fees.
Cost savings are likely to remain an important consideration for executives and corporate travel management professionals. While some companies will inevitably reduce the amount of business travel trips taken by executives, many experts in the sector remain optimistic that corporate travel will experience growth in 2013.
According to Frequent Business Traveler, approximately 50 percent of the 1,349 executives polled by the news source indicated they planned to travel more than they did two years ago. Around one-third of survey participants said they expected to take more trips in 2013 than they did last year.
The report revealed that many executives remain loyal to their preferred accommodations service, often choosing to stay in corporate suites of chain hotels. While this is clearly good news for hoteliers, this same brand loyalty could be a selling point of corporate furnished apartments. This type of accommodation provides travelers with the same standard of service as chain hotel properties, but are typically much more cost-effective.
Additionally, although many executives choose to stay in the same hotels on a regular basis, a significant number of respondents indicated that their overall experience varied either somewhat or greatly when staying in properties managed by the same company. This, in turn, could prove to be another aspect of corporate lodgings that appeal to frequent business travelers.
"Business travel is clearly on the upswing for 2013 and business travelers are more demanding than ever," said Jesse Sokolow, a contributor to Frequent Business Traveler. "When choosing an airline or hotel, business travelers look for a conducive work environment, Internet connectivity, and a consistent level of service. The providers that are able to meet these demands and anticipate new ones are the ones that will get their business in 2013 and the years ahead."