Tuesday 18 December 2018


Our annual Business Travel Show survey revealed that Brexit is not only the biggest challenge facing buyers next year, it will continue to cause them problems as far ahead as 2022.

For the first time in four years, cost-cutting was knocked off the top spot of the list of forthcoming challenges to be replaced by Brexit, which shot up from fourth place – its home for the last two years. Airbus UK travel manager and one of our advisory board members, Geoff Allwright, even admitted that Brexit is the one thing that ‘keeps him awake at night’.

With the news agenda saturated by Brexit, none of this comes as much of a surprise. But there were two interesting results from our survey. The first is that our poll (of 134 European buyers) showed that 65 per cent of travel managers don’t have a post-Brexit plan in place. Whether that’s a cause of concern or simply a side effect of the fact it’s impossible to plan for something so uncertain, is hard to know, but it’s interesting nonetheless.

And the second thing? While Brexit rocked up the chart and pricing, the value of sterling, globalisation and technology also make the 2019 top ten, duty of care and traveller risk have dropped out of the chart completely after taking the second slot for the last two years. Completely dropped out. In a world where terrorism and natural disasters are not getting any less frequent; at a time when travel managers claim that duty of care, traveller risk, traveller tracking – all of these things – are the ultimate priority to them.

In line with the Business Travel Show’s Travel 2022 theme for 2019, buyers were also asked what they expect to be the biggest challenges facing them in three years’ time. Similarly, to the 12-month forecast, Brexit and cost-cutting topped the table. Visas also made an appearance at number seven, mirroring the general concern about the impact that Brexit will have on the free and easy movement of people across borders.

Rising costs
Climate change
Traveller safety
Personalising travel
Travel alternatives
Sharing economy

Whether for or against the UK leaving the Europe Union, the last few months have been particularly frustrating and baffling for both sides leaving everyone possibly even more uncertain about any potential outcomes than they were a year or two ago. Because of that, I think our poll captures the Zeitgeist perfectly and it doesn’t surprise me that – right now – buyers are more concerned about Brexit than cost cutting.

This post was written by Business Travel Show marketing manager Kye Blackett. 
The Business Travel Show is the leading event in Europe for corporate travel professionals, taking place 20-21 February 2019 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.


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