2014 international business travel: Big regional differences, stable global trends

Tuesday 18, March 2014


2014 international business travel: Big regional differences, stable global trends


A growing number of travel managers worldwide (42 percent) expect business travel costs to increase in 2014.


Meanwhile, travel volume forecasts remain largely unchanged as compared with previous years: 31 percent expect a rise in the number of business trips, while a majority (53 percent) expects no change in 2014. These are the key results of the 2014 International Travel Management Study by AirPlus International. This ninth consecutive study is seen as a barometer of the business travel sector, and provides valuable information on the annual development in both global and local trends. For the present study, international market research company 2hm interviewed 958 travel managers in 24 countries in the third quarter of 2013.

“Despite major regional differences, this trend from previous years remains stable, and points to sustained recovery of the business travel market,” says Patrick Diemer, Chairman of the Management Board at AirPlus International. “If we look at the development in travel spend, we can see the growing importance of professional travel management to control travel costs.” For the first time, AirPlus asked survey participants not only to estimate travel behavior, but also to judge the influence that mega-trends in corporate social responsibility and technology have on their work. “Health and well-being” was identified as the trend that has the strongest influence on travel management, according to 50 percent of interviewees, closely followed by technology developments.

Growth strongest in emerging economies; biggest rise in costs expected in air travel
While one third of all travel managers worldwide expect business travel volumes to increase, expectations differ widely in the various markets and regions. Travel managers in Turkey take the most positive view of the year with 73 percent stating that more business trips will be taken in 2014, compared with 50 percent last year. Their counterparts in other emerging markets, such as Brazil (60 percent), India (53 percent) and South Africa (47 percent), also share this optimistic view. The situation is different in countries that are still beset by weak economic growth. In Spain, for example, a larger proportion of travel managers expect a decrease in business travel.

When it comes to the expected rise in travel costs, air travel is the category for which most travel managers worldwide believe they will pay more (39 percent). This is followed by 34 percent for hotels, 24 percent for meetings and conferences, and 22 percent in the car rental category.

Health and well-being influence travel management
For the first time, participants in the International Travel Management Study were asked about the influence that current mega-trends have on business travel. Among seven mega-trends in the fields of corporate social responsibility and technology, travel managers give most weight to the aspect of “health and well-being” (50 percent), followed by “environmental awareness” (49 percent), “the outernet” and “the data era” (47 percent in both cases), as well as “third place working” (41 percent). “Women’s empowerment” and “the aging society” have only a small influence on travel management.

Focus on North America
Higher than average number of North American travel managers expect higher costs

At 36 percent of respondents, slightly more travel managers in the United States expect higher travel volumes in 2014. Meanwhile, only 27 percent of Canadian respondents expect an increased number of trips. Meanwhile, both the United States and Canada expect higher travel costs (50 percent and 57 percent, respectively). As these values vastly outweigh the expected increase in travel volume, this cost concern is most likely the result of expected higher ticket and accommodations prices.



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