Different scenarios predicted for air and hotel activity
Results from AirPlus’s 2013 International Travel Management Study show that the vast majority of UK travel managers believe that there will be no decrease in business travel next year.
In figures released today 64% of respondents said that they thought the number of trips would stay the same while 28% thought that the travel itself would increase. Only 7% predict that the volume of business travel will fall in 2013.
At the same time, 45% of the survey sample believed that travel spend would remain the same while 38% said that they thought it would actually increase. However, 15% of those polled forecast a dip in business travel spend.
The overall volume and spend predictions include some stark variations among different categories of travel spend.
The UK travel managers polled were more likely to believe that the cost of air rather than the volume of flights would increase: 41% of respondents believed that air travel costs would rise in comparison with only 43% who believed they would stay the same but only 31% believed the number of business flights would increase in contrast to 53% who believed they would stay the same.
By the same token 44% of the travel managers in the poll thought the cost of accommodation for business travellers would rise while 40% thought the cost would stay constant. On the other hand, 36% believed that the number of hotel room nights would increase while 52% thought they would stay the same.
Intriguingly, the 36% of travel managers that believe the number of hotel room nights will increase in 2013 is a jump of 16% from the 31% increase in 2012 predicted by managers in 2011. The 31% expecting an increase in flights, however, represents a fall of 16% from last year.
This belief that more hotel rooms could be being booked despite fewer flights could be explained by a trend towards longer business trips.
UK travel managers, however, appear to be expecting a greater increase in their accommodation bill than that for flights.
In terms of cost, the 44% of managers who believe the cost of travel accommodation will rise represents a sharp increase of 29% from the 34% who believed hotel room costs were set to rise a year ago. The 41% who believe that air travel costs will increase is 8% less than last year.
The picture for car rental, train and meeting costs is much more consistent and restrained. The majority of UK travel managers believe that car rental, train and meeting volumes (66%, 68% and 66% respectively) and costs (62%, 64% and 67% respectively) will all remain constant in 2013.
Yael Klein, Managing Director of AirPlus UK, said, “I believe that a stable business travel market should definitely been seen in a positive light. Many other large European business travel markets, including France, Italy and Spain, predict spending to go down, albeit marginally. As business travel spend seems to point quite consistently to the state of the national economy, we would hope this is therefore a good indication for the outlook of our economy over the next 12 months.”
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