Poll: 25% of firms hiked travel budgets in 04

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Art Pfenning One out of four companies increased their corporate travel budgets in 2004 compared with 2003, according to WorldTravel BTIs annual client survey.

Although this may indicate a trend in the travel industry, it should be noted that one-third of those firms surveyed reported a decrease in spending, while the remaining reported no change.

Just over one-third (35%) indicated major adjustments to their company travel policy. Preferred-vendor compliance (54%) led the policy alterations. Other changes included mandated policy compliance (32%), mandated use of a particular travel agency (21%) or online booking tool (21%) and flying coach instead of first/business class (21%).

Increasing employee adoption of corporate online booking tools is an ongoing trend. Although the average respondents online adoption rate for corporate travel is approximately 35%, some respondents reported adoption levels in excess of 70%. For example, companies with strict mandates report adoption rates almost twice that of companies without mandates.

It should be noted, however, that only 5% of those polled currently apply a strict mandate to their online-booking program, while one-third of the respondents apply a soft mandate, and 65% have no mandate.

Survey results show that nearly one-third (30%) of respondent companies manage meetings through the corporate travel department. Ninety-one percent state that the travel department leverages transient and meetings air spending to maximize discounts.

Art Pfenning is the research director for Northstar Travel Media, Travel Weeklys parent company. For information on how research can help your business, or if you are interested in having NTM Research conduct your next project, contact Pfenning at twedito[email protected].

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