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The growth in worldwide business travel spend exceeded expectations in 2015 and is due to increase further this year, new data reveals.
Spending on corporate travel spending increased by 1.42% last year, more than twice the 0.7% rise anticipated in 2014, according to American Express Global Business Travel.
The upswing is likely to continue in 2016, with a 1% to 3% rise in total travel spending expected.
“Safety and security” has overtaken “cost control” to be the number one priority of company executives when considering business travel. “Traveller satisfaction” is ranked the third priority, according to the latest global business travel barometer from the TMC.
Half of the companies surveyed aim to grow their businesses by expanding abroad over the next year, compared to 38% in 2014. Furthermore, the study shows that one third of respondents plan to increase their business travel budgets within the next three years, compared to 18% in 2014.
However, 76% of respondents still view business travel as a necessary cost, compared with 24% who see it as an investment.
Further, 21% of the participants said they would be interested in being more informed on how they can measure the return-on-investment of their business travel.
When asked about the aspects which will grow in importance over the coming year, the top four elements cited by respondents were: price optimisation (50%), security solutions (41%), reliability of data (41%) and quality of overall travel programme management (40).
A focus on improving processes than on direct costs is expected this year. Process improvements include online and expense management tools, and more consideration to the nature and purpose of travel before booking trips.
Elyes Mrad, EMEA managing director at American Express Global Business Travel, said: “The barometer reveals that respondents are optimistic when it comes to business travel spending, however they continue to perceive business travel as a cost, rather than an investment.
“This demonstrates that calculating the return-on-investment of business travel is still a challenge for companies.
“Companies should work closely with travel management companies to address their evolving business travel priorities of security, cost control and traveller satisfaction, while introducing technology and innovation to help their overall programme efficiency.”
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