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Outlook on Global Business Travel 2016

Outlook on Global Business Travel 2016: Travel Managers are Increasingly Cautious

Neu-Isenburg, 08/03/2016

AirPlus has published the results of its 11th International Travel Management Study // Business travelers were interviewed for the study for the first time

When it comes to forecasting developments in 2016, corporate travel managers around the world are hesitant. Those who believe the travel market will regress still are in the minority, but their numbers are growing, from 14 percent to 19 percent year over year. Even though small, this percentage now appears to have reached its peak following the 2009 economic crisis. A majority of 31 percent of travel managers expect travel bookings to increase compared to the 35 percent who shared this opinion regarding the 2015 business travel year.

This is one of the key results of the recently published 11th AirPlus International Travel Management Study. On behalf of AirPlus, the global market research company 2hm interviewed 847 travel managers in 24 countries. The study delivers a comprehensive comparison of various regions and countries.

Again, respondents were asked about their expectations regarding travel expenses: A majority of them (41 percent) indicated their respective companies will spend more money on travel this year, while a mere 18 percent expect their spending to go down. Last year, 44 percent of the interviewees around the world forecast increasing travel expenses. Responses vary greatly among the countries: In some of the largest economies in the western world, including the United States, Germany, and the UK, the ratio of respondents expecting higher expenses and those expecting expenses to drop is approximately 5 to 1.

For the first time in the AirPlus Study, this year 1,158 business travelers in 24 countries were asked about their expectations. Thirty-two percent believe their companies will book more trips in 2016; only 12 percent forecast a reduction. However, again, responses vary greatly among countries: While 71 percent of travelers based in India think their travel activities will intensify, only 11 percent of those in Scandinavia share this opinion. None of the interviewees in the Netherlands, Spain or India expect to travel less in 2016, but 41 percent of those based in Belgium do expect business travel to be down.

Most experts in Germany anticipate the 2016 business travel year to remain stable: Almost 75 percent of travel managers think it is likely the travel volumes booked by their companies will not change compared to the previous year. The number of travel managers who expect an increase in travel activities has fallen dramatically to 20 percent – significantly below the Western European and the global average.

Business travelers in Germany are much more confident than their colleagues in travel management: Thirty-seven percent anticipate travel volumes to go up in 2016, more than the Western European average of 28 percent and the global average of 32 percent. The notion that costs will increase is shared by 40 percent of business travelers in Germany and by only 32 percent in other Western European countries. Even so, business travelers based in Germany tend to worry slightly less about higher costs than the travel managers in their companies (51 percent).

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

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