Poll: Gas prices fuel concern among business travel execs

The fuel cost-driven increases in air fares and, to a lesser extent, ground transportation, have gotten the attention of most corporate travel managers, a new survey by the National Business Travel Association shows.

The NBTAs survey of 92 corporate travel managers, conducted between April 27 and May 3, found growing concern about rising prices. Two-thirds of managers, the NBTA found, said department heads and other budget stakeholders are concerned about how they can maintain 2006 travel budgets and meet business needs amid rising air fares and gas prices.

Just over half of the respondents said fuel price hikes have added $51 to $100 to the average cost of a domestic business trip. Another 13% said the hikes have added $101 to $150 to the cost, and 10% said theyve added $151 or more.

The impact is showing up most on air travel decisions.

While 69% of respondents are continuing to purchase air travel at the same rate, most are implementing tighter controls or encouraging travel alternatives, the NBTA survey said.

Ground transportation decisions have not been affected as much: Nearly half of the respondents indicated their firm hasnt changed its ground transportation policies.

The NBTA said travel managers seem to be in wait-and-see mode on ground transportation. That could be, in part, because most of them have not seen fuel surcharges added to car rental agreements. But, among the travel managers who havent seen fuel surcharges yet, nearly half are expecting to.

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