AirPlus Successful through the ecomonic crisis in 2009
A leading provider of business travel payment and MIS solutions emerged with positive results in 2009 // Customer acquisition cushions recession-based decline in sales // Green Reports introduced into the marketplace // Awarded “Germany’s most customer-oriented service provider”
AirPlus, an award winning business travel payment provider looks back on a successful 2009 financial year. Despite the decline in the global economy and subsequent travel embargoes implemented by companies, AirPlus remained profitable, achieving 17.2 million euros before tax. As a result of the recession, the settlement turnover was six percent below the previous year (18.1 billion euros). On a worldwide scale, 856 AirPlus staff members supported more than 33,000 business customers last year. The share of the international settlement turnover rose to 48%, compared to 41% last year.
“The response of many companies in the face of the recession was to cut travel budgets and tighten their company’s travel policies. For this reason, business travellers travelled less than in the previous year,” explained AirPlus’ CEO Patrick W. Diemer at the annual Press Talks held in Neu-Isenburg, Germany in March 2010. “However, by acquiring new customers we cushioned the negative impact of business travel embargoes implemented by some of our existing clients. This played a big part in securing jobs at AirPlus - worldwide”, said Diemer.
In 2009, AirPlus continued to assert its unchallenged market leadership in Germany and maintain its favourable positioning in other business travel markets across the globe. “Our goal to become the preferred global provider of business travel payment and MIS solutions by 2012 is still a realistic goal that does not need to be adjusted after 2009,” said Diemer. Looking at the next 12 months, Diemer remains optimistic, stating: “Our current settlement turnover shows us that the economic situation is improving when it comes to business travel. This is even more obvious abroad than in our home market in Germany.”
For many companies, the pressure of saving costs has lead to changes in internal practices where travel management is concerned. “We have noticed that many travel managers used the influence they gained within their organisations during the recession to introduce professional payment and analysis solutions offered by AirPlus. This enabled them to keep up the required mobility for their companies in spite of travel budgets cuts” said Diemer.
An overview of AirPlus’ activities in 2009:
AirPlus’ savings initiative helps companies save money
AirPlus initiated a savings programme in 2009 to help companies tap into additional savings potential in their daily business travel expense management. Comprising of cost tracking reporting and analysis tools – AirPlus Savings Calculator and AirPlus Savings Tracker – the savings initiative was aimed at helping customers enhance their efficiency in travel expense management. The AirPlus Savings Calculator enabled companies to define areas where savings can be made and the amount they can save in each area. In addition, the AirPlus Savings Tracker – a compilation of six key reports - provided companies with individual cost analysis, offering an insight into companies’ full savings potential.
Partnerships strengthen AirPlus’ presence across international markets
In 2009, AirPlus continued to expand its international network by entering into a strategic partnership with Banco Santander. With this alliance, companies in Portugal and Latin America can now benefit from a global payment solution for their business travel expense management. By partnering with Banco Santander, AirPlus is in a position to service new growing markets where the need for professional travel expense management solutions is increasing.
Moreover, AirPlus and Hertz announced their partnership in 2009, offering an enhanced choice to existing AirPlus customers across nine European countries. Companies are now able to pay for a Hertz car-rental and analyse their spend in detail using AirPlus’ payment and MIS solutions. The cooperation with Hertz complements the existing partnerships with the leading car-rental companies, such as Avis, Europcar and Sixt.
AirPlus Green Reports strengthen pioneering role for climate protection solutions
Business travel is gaining more and more importance when it comes to protecting the environment. With its new innovation, the AirPlus Green Reports, AirPlus offers companies a greater opportunity to engage in climate protection. This industry-first solution provides companies with transparent CO2 reports for their business flights, whereby emissions are automatically determined for every flight ticket purchased on the AirPlus Company Account. Based on this information, companies can choose to make a voluntary donation to a climate protection organisation or invest in their own climate-neutral projects. The emission balances can subsequently be incorporated in the companies’ sustainability reports, enabling them to live up to their own Social Corporate Responsibility. The AirPlus Green Reports is yet another initiative of AirPlus that has positioned it as an industry leader in the field of climate protection. In 2007, AirPlus introduced an industry first automatic carbon offset feature through the AirPlus Company Account, which received the Business Travel Show Innovation Award in the Corporate Social Responsibility Category in 2008.
“We are pleased to see clear signs of increasing sensitivity toward climate protection issues in the corporate world and are aware of the continuing impact of business travel on our environment,” said Patrick W. Diemer. “It is for this reason that we continue to develop green solutions for travel managers, so that they can seamlessly integrate their climate protection practices into their existing expense management processes without spending extra time and effort.”
Special prize for optimal implementation of customer feedback
With its award-winning innovative solutions and services, AirPlus continues to set trends. Winning the “Germany’s most customer-oriented service provider 2010” competition, AirPlus was awarded a special prize for optimal implementation of its customer feedback. The jury ranked AirPlus among Germany’s best service providers in the competition and honored its continuous improvement of its customer service, as well as its development of product innovations that meet customer requirements.
In addition, the AirPlus Meeting Solution received an award for “Excellence in Payments Innovation in 2009” from the European Payments Consulting Association (EPCA). Honouring trend-setting innovations in the payment industry, the award gives recognition to AirPlus’ clever solution for transparent settlement of events with direct links to hotels.
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