Corporate Travel Budgets Higher Than Expected

ATLANTA -- According to the WorldTravel BTI annual client survey, one out of four clients increased their corporate travel budgets in 2004 compared to 2003. WorldTravel BTI, headquartered in Atlanta, is among the top three corporate travel management firms in the United States.

Two-thirds of WorldTravel's clients anticipated flat spending in 2004, according to the previous year's results.

When it comes to rental car selection, respondents indicate that the most important factors in selection of a rental car company are rates, vendor reputation and loyalty programs. Almost half of the survey participants indicate that their company's travel program has two negotiated car rental agreements.

The primary factors cited as causes for 2004 travel budget increases include an increase in international travel, more trips planned and more people traveling. While this may indicate an upward trend in the travel industry, one-third of those surveyed reported a decrease in spending, while the remaining reported no change.

Cost-containment measures taken to control budgets indicate a greater move to policy and vendor compliance. The actions cited most often by clients include more use of online booking systems, better communication on travel policies, and enforcement of preferred vendor policies.

In 2004, just more than one-third (35%) of the respondents indicated major adjustments to their company travel policy. Preferred vendor compliance led the policy changes compared to security policy changes in 2003. Other changes included mandated policy compliance, mandated use of an online booking tool and changed reservation class of first/business class to coach.

Increasing employee adoption of corporate online booking tools is a continuing trend, with half of those surveyed mentioning this as one of their primary goals. While the average respondent's online adoption rate for corporate travel is approximately 35%, some respondents report adoption levels in excess of 70%.

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