Travel management salaries up 3.4 percent

Survey says 63 percent of Canadian and US travel buyers satisfied with compensation and benefits

January 25, 2013
by Travel Management Canada Staff

Alexandria, VA—The average salary for travel buyers has increased by 3.4 percent in the past year, according to research from the GBTA Foundation’s 2012 Travel Management Compensation and Benefits Survey. According to the survey, 63 percent of travel buyers are satisfied with their overall compensation and benefits. These findings are based on the responses of 529 corporate travel and meetings managers in the US and Canada.

“We are encouraged that salaries and job satisfaction remain high in the travel buyer profession, despite the uncertainty of the global economy,” said GBTA president and CEO Jim McMullan. “As a travel manager myself, I’m convinced that one of the keys to strengthening the economy is through face-to-face interactions among businesspeople—interactions that require a continued commitment to business travel.”

Compensation levels for travel professionals tend to increase as total domestic travel spend increases. In 2012 average compensation by title was:

  • Directors: 4.1-percent increase to $140,650;
  • Managers: 3.3-percent increase to $92,407; and
  • Coordinators: 2.7-percent increase to $60,157.

Travel managers are responsible for global programs, with 63 percent of respondents indicating their program covers travellers in other countries. The travel managers are responsible for administering their corporate travel programs (87 percent); negotiating with travel vendors (87 percent); and developing and administering their travel policy (84 percent).

Travel managers also have responsibilities in other areas such as event planning (43 percent), evaluating new technology (79 percent) and developing strategic meetings management programs (38 percent).

Over 80 percent of respondents reported their convention attendance and professional associations dues are benefits paid fully by their employers. Three-out-of-four respondents (75 percent) said their employers also covered continuing education.

The 2012 Travel Management Compensation and Benefits Survey from the GBTA Foundation is designed to allow travel managers to compare compensation and benefits with peers. The report provides detailed data on respondents’ sex, job titles, professional certification, years of experience and more.