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Outlook on business travel in 2015: positive expectations in most markets

Outlook on business travel in 2015: positive expectations in most markets

Neu-Isenburg, 06/01/2015

Thirty-five percent of travel managers worldwide anticipate growth // The results of the AirPlus International Travel Management Study indicate that the current growth in the overall economic situation will exert positive effects on business travel // Expectations for the new financial year vary greatly among regions

The number of corporate travel managers worldwide who expect travel volumes to rise again in 2015 has increased: Compared to 31% in 2014, 35% forecast more trips in the upcoming financial year. Forty-one percent of travel managers anticipate no changes compared to 53% year over year, and 17% expect travel volumes to drop. Data collected in some regions of the world differs greatly from the global average. Compared to 2014, travel managers, particularly those in North America, Asia-Pacific and Western and Northern Europe, have raised their expectations significantly regarding growth. Forecasts provided by travel managers in Eastern Europe are below average – only 10% expect more trips. These are the initial findings of the International Travel Management Study 2015 conducted by AirPlus International. For the tenth consecutive year, the study remains a key industry barometer, delivering valuable data regarding the development of global and local trends in business travel year over year. For the 2015 study, in autumn of 2014 the international market research company 2hm surveyed a total of 941 travel managers in 24 countries.

“The 2015 study is the first to emphasize the link between a country’s economic situation and travel managers’ expectations regarding business travel,” says Patrick W. Diemer, Chair of the Board of Management of AirPlus International. “Despite the crises in many parts of the world, on a global scale more travel managers expect the economy to have a positive impact on business travel compared to 2014.” Year over year, this percentage has increased from 14% to 18%. In turn, in Eastern Europe only half as many travel managers as last year anticipate positive results. Reasons for this bleak outlook may include the above-average effects of the 2013 Olympic Games in Sochi as well as the negative repercussions from the Crimean Crisis in 2014. Probably owing to ongoing economic difficulties in South Africa, the influence of negative results on business travel rose by 19 percentage points to 50%.

Experts anticipate higher travel costs
Most Western industrial countries expect travel costs to increase but not the number of business trips. Close to 10% of interviewees in the United States and in Canada forecast higher travel costs and constant travel volumes. This outlook also was recorded in Germany, Austria and Switzerland as well as in the developing South African market. Experts are setting budgets higher as they anticipate prices for travel services to rise in 2015. Moreover, the improved business situation of the corporate sector could result in business travel experiencing an upsurge which in turn could lead to extended trips and more purchases of higher-priced travel services.

Growth forecasts differ among large companies
On the whole, twice as many travel managers expect travel volumes to increase (35%) than expect them to decrease (17%) in 2015. Most notably, an above-average percentage of travel managers in large companies stated that the number of business trips will rise in 2015 but at the same time, an above-average number of travel managers (25%) forecast a slump.

About the International Travel Management Study 2015
The International Travel Management Study (ITMS) 2015 was conducted in October 2014 by the international market research company 2hm on behalf of AirPlus International. A total of 941 travel managers were surveyed in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, India, Italy, Mexico, Netherlands, Norway, Russia, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, United Kingdom and United States.

The key global findings of the ITMS 2015 will be published separately in late January 2015.

Anne Dreesen
AirPlus International
Phone: +49 (0) 61 02. 2 04 - 72 61

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