CWT travel manager survey highlights cost control

Buyer priorities identical regardless of company size, industry, travel spend or program scope

February 11, 2013
by Travel Management Canada Staff

AMSTERDAM—CWT has published its CWT Travel Management Priorities report based on an international survey of almost 800 travel managers. The survey includes companies with mid-sized national programs and an annual travel spend in the range of US$2 million as well as companies with large, international travel programs with annual travel spend of more than US$100 million.

Travel managers concentrate efforts on further savings
The report shows that the overall ranking of priorities for 2013 remains very similar to the order of priorities for 2012, said CWT. Travel buyers intend to focus on areas representing the greatest savings rather than those associated with the traveller experience. This is true regardless of the size of the company, the industry type, the budget spent on travel or the scope of the travel program, according to the report.

“The challenging economic climate means that there is continued pressure on buyers to both reduce costs and manage travel in a more cost-effective way,” said Christophe Renard, CWT vice-president of marketing, communications and business intelligence. “As air and ground travel represents the majority of spend within a travel program, it is not surprising that it is the number one priority for most travel buyers, even though it is an area that is already well advanced in terms of optimization.”

The measures travel managers plan to take to achieve these objectives vary according to region, said CWT. While North American travel buyers are aiming to further consolidate their programs and standardize processes, their counterparts in Asia-Pacific are intending to focus more on improving travel compliance and mandating preferred booking channels; Latin American travel buyers are concentrating on implementing advanced booking rules and strengthening car rental policies, whereas travel buyers from Europe, the Middle East and Africa are tightening air and rail policies to drive down air and ground costs.

Travel buyers with global responsibility are the only category to tackle traveller compliance with technology 2.0. Their top three actions to achieve this target include offering mobile services to travellers, implementing a social media tool or apps and providing a web-based traveller portal. To achieve the same objective, regional travel buyers are looking at more traditional actions such as communication and training on policy, the report said.

Business travel trends indicate the challenges for 2013
The second part of the report covers business travel trends for 2013 and looks at changes that travel buyers are likely to see and the challenges in the current economic climate and business travel landscape. From a pricing perspective it’s likely that global inflation will hit travel prices modestly overall, with increases of under five percent. Travel managers will need to monitor programs and suppliers closely, the report said, paying particular attention to rising ancillary fees and fuel surcharges.

Changes in technology will affect the travel process with consumer-influenced technology increasingly finding its way into corporate travel through services such as travel review sites and mobile apps specifically designed for business travellers.

Travel management 2.0 will also be a major theme in 2013 as companies seek to find the right balance between exercising the right level of control over traveler booking behaviors while ensuring that travel is still “managed” for budgetary and security reasons.

Finally, risk management will be key as companies send travellers to increasingly high risk areas and duty of care during business travel becomes an integral part of a company’s legal responsibility to its employees.