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BTS Annual Buyer Survey reveals Airline pricing biggest concern for 2015

One third (33 per cent) of European business travel buyers will have more money to spend in 2015 according to the results of the annual buyer survey commissioned by the Business Travel Show.
While healthy and positive, this figure is a slight drop on previous years. In 2014, 37 per cent of budgets rose and in 2012 and 2011 39 per cent of buyers had more money to spend. Almost half – 45 per cent – of buyers expect to manage more trips this year. This compares to 48 per cent in 2014. Half (47 per cent) of buyers expect their overall costs to rise.

179 travel buyers took part in the Business Travel Show survey - 73 per cent from the UK and 27 per cent from continental Europe. The full Corporate Travel Industry Trend Report featuring analysis going back to 2008 will be available to all buyers who pre-register for the show, which takes place 25-26 February 2015 at Olympia Grand in London.

Airline spend
In 2014, 36 per cent of buyers enjoyed bigger airline budgets and a further third predict airline budgets will increase again for 2015.
·       Nine per cent of buyers don’t currently – or have plans to – use low cost carriers. 26 per cent plan to increase their usage in 2015.
·       38 per cent of buyers bought fewer business class seats in 2014 and 23 per cent will only provide business class travel for flights over eight hours.  

Accommodation spend
Almost one third (31 per cent) of buyers had more to spend on accommodation in 2014.
·       All buyers use budget hotels, though for 82 per cent they account for less than 50 per cent of the room nights they book. 12 per cent of buyers used budget accommodation more or significantly more in 2014.
·       Serviced apartments account for less than 10 per cent of room nights for 84 per cent of buyers though 12 per cent of buyers did increase their use of apartments in 2014.

Martin Searle, senior category manager – travel services, Xchanging, confirmed: “Minimising cost increases in an apparently recovering economy remains a huge challenge for business travel buyers in 2015.”

Top 20 issues facing Buyers in 2015:
Airline pricing was voted as the biggest concern facing buyers in 2015, followed by cost control, compliance, increased hotel rates and traveller safety. The chart below shows how this compares to 2014.

“The biggest issue facing me as a buyer in 2015 is managing the airline category thanks to ancillary fees, NDC and changes in traffic flow,” commented Ruediger Bruss, purchasing manager, Continental.

1.     Airline pricing – increases, lack of transparency and negotiation concerns
2.     Controlling costs and managing spend
3.     Compliance and enforcing policy adherence
4.     Increased hotel rates
5.     Traveller safety
6.     Cost savings
7.     Ancillary fees
8.     The role of the TMC
9.     Online adoption
10.  Cost increases
11.  Balancing traveller needs while staying within budget
12.  Online vs TMC pricing
13.  Sustainability
14.  GDS content
15.  Supplier consolidation
16.  Mobile technology & solutions
17.  Airline consolidation
18.  Availability and variety of low cost leisure tools
19.  The move towards traveller management
20.  Stakeholder management

“This year’s survey shows budgets are continuing to head in the right direction, which is great news and in line with predictions from the GBTA that Europe will enjoy a five per cent increase in business travel spend this year. But there is no doubt that buyers are still under pressure to buy smarter, negotiate harder and stretch their budgets for maximum results, and that’s why a visit to the Business Travel Show is a must-attend each and every year,” commented David Chapple, event director, Business Travel Show.

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