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Amex GBT report: European business travel spend predicted to increase by 4.3% in 2019

Study finds European businesses remain optimistic in the face of ongoing political and economic uncertainty
European business travel spend will increase by 4.3% in 2019, according to the European Business Travel Barometer study published by American Express Global Business Travel (GBT).

The European Business Travel Barometer is the longest-running study of European business travel. The 28th edition summarises 2018’s trends and insights while looking ahead to the end of 2019. It found that in 2018, the amount of money spent on business travel increased by 3.8% year on year, 0.4% more than was forecasted in the previous barometer. There was also a 3.6% annual rise in the number of people travelling for work.  

GBT’s Senior Vice President and Managing Director, International, Elyes Mrad, said: “The findings of the study are positive. After a year of geopolitical and economic uncertainty, businesses are still focused on investing in travel to foster relationships and facilitate growth.”  

The research also revealed a shift in managed travel priorities. For the last three years, traveller security was the top of the list. This year, cost control takes precedence, followed by data security.  

Top priorities for managing a travel programme
1. Control and management of costs
2. Data security
3. Traveller security
4. Traveller satisfaction  

Despite being ranked fourth, 71% of businesses now measure traveller satisfaction compared to only 56% in the previous year. As a result, two-thirds (66%) of companies now use traveller satisfaction as a tool to improve employee engagement, which is reflected in a shift away from strict travel policies (a decrease of 16% between 2016 and 2018) in favour of greater flexibility.  

Mrad added: “The challenge businesses face is balancing cost efficiency and effectiveness, enabling travel to support their objectives, but at the same time, meeting the needs and expectations of employees. We expect to see a growing demand for flexible, smarter travel policies, tools and services that respond quickly to traveller feedback.”  

A summary of research results and analysis from the 2019 European Business Travel Barometer is available to download here.

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