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New report highlights business travel spending patterns

Monday, July 22, 2013

New report highlights business travel spending patterns

As the economy gradually begins to recover from the global financial crisis that began in 2007, there has been much speculation about how returning consumer confidence will affect the business travel sector. Although many analysts agree that corporate travel will rebound this year, few experts can predict how this growth will occur. According to CPA Practice Advisor, small to mid-size firms will spend more on business travel in the coming months than their larger counterparts.

Key indicators
Global travel analytics and expense management consultancy firm Concur recently published its "Concur Expense IQ" report, and many of the key findings suggest strong growth in business travel among smaller companies for the remainder of the year. Data was collated from Concur's more than 18,000 clients and provides a unique insight into how organizations plan to expand their corporate travel programs in the coming months.

The primary finding of the report indicates that executives at small to mid-size firms traveled more frequently than individuals belonging to larger companies. Approximately 37 percent of respondents purchased corporate air tickets more often, and 29 percent expensed more meals than professionals at bigger firms. Interestingly, executives at small organizations filed fewer claims for accommodations reimbursement than executives at larger firms.

"The second-largest controllable spend for most companies is [travel and expense] – making visibility into this area mission critical," said Robson Grieve, executive vice president of worldwide marketing for Concur, as quoted by the news source. "For instance, our data shows us that SMBs are more active on average than large market companies due to the fact they file expense transactions nearly 17 percent more frequently and spend almost 25 percent more on the road."

Enduring challenges
Although 9 percent fewer professionals from small to medium-sized enterprises claimed back the cost of accommodations on business travel trips, this does not mean these individuals are exempt from the financial pressures of traveling to the world's most expensive cities. 

According to the Australian Financial Review, Brisbane topped the list of the world's most costly cities for business travelers with an average daily rate of $547 at Brisbane hotels. Other metropolises that ranked highly on the list included Tokyo ($540 per day), Sydney ($524 per day) and London ($516 per day). With the cost of accommodations rising around the world, alternatives to corporate suites at chain hotels such as serviced apartments and corporate housing could become increasingly popular, particularly among professionals from smaller companies.