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The 'New Normal' for business travel.
Sunday, 25th October 2009
Source : National Business Travel Association
With travel costs relatively flat, business travel projected to increase while travel policies expected to remain tight.

The National Business Travel Association (NBTA) -- the leading global business travel organization -- today provided its members with the 2010 U.S. Business Travel Buyers' Cost Forecast.

This latest installment of the widely-respected annual tool for the U.S. corporate travel industry forecasts the following ranges for changes in travel rates/fares:

With air travel and car rental costs expected to remain nearly flat and hotel rates expected to decline, businesses expect to travel more.

That growth in travel is expected to lead to increases in travel expenditures.
  • Nearly 7 in 10 (69%) of travel managers responding to an NBTA survey expect business travel volume to grow in 2010.
  • 56 percent of travel managers project their total travel spend to increase in 2010; another 31 percent expect their total travel spend to remain flat year over year.
Travel and meetings buyers also expect to see an easing of travel & meeting reductions in 2010. 

Compared to the previous year, the percentage of travel managers expecting to see cuts has gone down in the following areas:  number of meetings (-27%), non-essential travel and conference (-20%) and event attendance (-15%).  

NBTA President & CEO, Craig Banikowski, CCTE, C.P.M., CMM, said, "Travel management is once again quickly responding to shifting business cycles to help companies optimize their travel investments to maximize profits. As the economic recovery begins taking hold in 2010, companies will take advantage of low travel costs to send employees on the road in greater volumes, thus fueling the recovery."

Banikowski continued, "The uptick in business travel in 2010 will take place within the framework of a new corporate culture in terms of travel. In the 'new normal,' we see stronger travel mandates, greater use of pre-trip approval and audits, tighter restrictions on premium class travel, more focus on travel ROI, and enterprise-wide strategic meetings management."

In the new business travel environment, corporate travel managers expect to drive good values with preferred travel suppliers:

  • 70 percent of buyers expect to negotiate better hotel discounts for 2010.
  • More than 30 percent forecast better discounts with airlines, and car rental companies.
The full report is available to NBTA members at www.nbta.org/2010forecast

Non-members can access the report later this week. Members of the media should contact the NBTA Publication Relations team at pr@nbta.org.

Methodology

The  NBTA 2010 U.S. Business Travel Buyers' Cost Forecast is based on primary findings from an online survey completed by 180 U.S.-based NBTA Direct Members (corporate travel buyers) between the dates of August 13 and September 24, 2009, as well as additional analysis of data collected from sources such as the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, Smith Travel Research, IHS Global Insight, and the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

The National Business Travel Association (NBTA) is the world’s premier business travel and corporate meetings organization. NBTA and its regional affiliates – NBTA Asia Pacific, the Brazilian Business Travel Association (ABGEV), NBTA Canada, NBTA Mexico, and NBTA USA – serve a network of more than 15,000 business travel professionals around the globe with industry-leading events, networking, education & professional development, research, news & information, and advocacy.
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