Travel managers remain focused on cost cutting

Guest Writer

Optimizing hotel spend, improving traveler compliance, optimizing simple bookings, and driving air and ground transportation savings are the top four areas of higher priority for travel managers in 2010, according to a recent report published by Carlson Wagonlit Travel (CWT), a global leader specializing in business travel management. The report also offers a full range of best practices for deriving greater value from managed travel programs. 

Travel Management Priorities for 2010: Decisive Opportunities for Success presents findings from a survey of 169 travel managers worldwide that was conducted by CWT in the fourth quarter of 2009. When presented with a list of initiatives for managing their travel program and asked which of them would become a higher priority in 2010 compared to 2009, 50-60 percent cited the four areas previously mentioned. Further consolidating the travel program and developing key performance indicators came next for more than one-third of those surveyed. Making the program more environmentally friendly ranked lowest on the list, qualifying as a higher priority for only 13 percent.

Commenting on the survey findings, Cathy Voss, executive vice president, global program solutions, said: “Driving savings was the mandate for travel managers throughout 2009. Often, this meant reducing business travel. It also meant applying the fundamentals of smart travel management more diligently than ever. This will be the case in 2010 as well, even as the economy improves and business travel picks up.” 

Looking at the year ahead, CWT anticipates a decline in negotiated hotel rates; little, if any, demand for dynamic hotel pricing from travel managers and buyers; higher average ticket prices for air travel as industry consolidation and capacity reduction continue; and the reinforcement of ancillary fees. Furthermore, competition for rail travel will increase and car rental companies will continue to control costs while increasing rates and no-show fees. CWT also foresees efforts to enhance the traveler experience through mobile services, paperless boarding passes, and wireless Internet for air and rail travel. 

The full report Travel Management Priorities for 2010: Decisive Opportunities for Success can be downloaded at www.carlsonwagonlit.com.

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