As we head into another new year, corporate travel buyers are, once again, facing the pressure to cut costs and maintain quality. Oh yes, it's that time again, when the Business Travel Show buyer survey flags up the pain points for buyers in the next 12 months.
Business Travel Show event director David Chapple
The poll of 243 business travel buyers asked, “What is the biggest issue facing you over the next 12 months?” Cutting costs reigns top of the list for the third consecutive year, followed by an increased focus on duty of care for the second time in a row.
In third place (up five from last year) is rising hotel rates and, more specifically, availability. Rising airfares is at number six, a drop of three positions. Brexit – a new entry on the table in 2017 – features again in fourth place. Enforcing compliance continues to freefall down the table, from second place in 2016, to fifth last year and seventh for 2018. Unsurprisingly, GDPR – which comes into force next May – features on the list for the first time in tenth place.
It’s not surprising to see cost cutting and duty of care as the top two challenges facing buyers over the next 12 months, especially given the recent spate of terrorist attacks across Europe and further afield; it’s simply not an opportunity for buyers to ignore traveller risk anymore, it must be a priority for them, their organisations and their partners.
Buyers have been so vocal about the debate around hotel availability this year that it was also not unexpected to see the issue around hotel rates rate so highly. But I was a little surprised to see Brexit so high on the table, given that many people feel the initial instability it caused for corporate travel was short-lived and the after effects will remain somewhat of an unknown until March 2019 at the earliest.
Additionally, when asked the follow up question, “What will the biggest change in the way you buy/manage travel in the next 12 months be?” buyers responded as follows.
1. No change
2. Increased use of technology
3. Change TMC
4. Increased online bookings
5. Increased compliance
7. Pressure to reduce costs
8. Engage a TMC
9. Direct bookings
10. Consolidate suppliers
11. Value for money
12. Find a new travel and expense tool
13. Increased focus on safety
14. Reduce travel
15. Managing with a reduced budget
The Business Travel Show is the leading event in Europe for corporate travel professionals, taking place 21-22 February 2018 at Olympia London. Buyers can register for a free visitor pass at www.businesstravelshow.com/register.
Buyers with a minimum annual spend of £1 million can also apply to attend as a hosted buyer at http://www.businesstravelshow.com/hosted-buyers.