Getting Corporate Business
“Corporate travel spending is mostly influenced by the economy and by a company’s financials – as the economy continues to improve, travel spending will increase,” says Carol A. Devine, NBTA president and CEO.
But she notes that even as the economy improves, companies still need to make the most of every travel dollar.
In today’s business environment, those companies with managed travel programs will see significantly more value for their travel expenditures than those without such programs.
Operators need to remember that corporate travel managers are in the business of providing strategic travel expertise to meet their companies’ business needs.
“To gain business from travel managers, chauffeured transportation companies should focus of course on cost, but also on the value offered in the form of safety, security and insurance coverage,” Devine says.
“Work with travel managers to safeguard the well-being and confidentiality of key executives and top managers, as well as their discussions while en route.” She recommends that operators interested in reaching corporate travel managers get involved in the NBTA and take advantage of networking opportunities.
“There are nearly 50 limousine and chauffeured transportation company members of NBTA in more than 25 countries. More than 20 exhibited at the 2004 NBTA Convention and Trade Show in Orlando, where they had an opportunity to reach more than 1,100 travel managers. They were there because they see value in NBTA’s world-class annual convention.”
Corporate Travel Buyers Survey
NBTA created an online survey that was distributed to corporate travel buyers. The following results and data are based on 265 respondents.
Business travel levels have been rising in 2004 and travel industry indicators remain positive for the rest of the year and into 2005.
* More than half of the survey respondents indicate that their “travel spend” has increased from the same time last year.
* More than 60 percent of travel managers indicated their companies are spending more on travel than last year.
*Eighteen percent said there was no change, while 22 percent said they are spending less.
In 2003’s survey, only 30 percent of all respondents noted an increase in travel spending from the previous year.
The majority of corporate travel managers still agree that current economic conditions hinder a further rise in business travel.
Despite business travel levels on the rise, corporate travel managers are looking at cost-saving travel tactics in 2004. Travel managers have implemented policies to save on travel spending.
* Businesses are following late-booking patterns and using efficient and low-cost distribution channels to lower travel prices. Corporations are using more mid-priced brands for hotel stays and are booking flights on discount airlines.
* Prices in each segment of the industry (air fare, hotel rates, car rental prices) are expected to rise for the remainder of 2004.
* While prices are on the rise, the volume of travel purchased is also growing. More than 70 percent of corporate travel managers expect their companies to use a higher number of hotel room nights in 2004 than last year.
One third of respondents said the travel industry is currently experiencing recovery that will bring it to levels comparable to 2000, seen as the banner year for the industry. However, more than half of travel managers feel the recovery will not happen until sometime next year.