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3rd Annual Business Travel Intelligence Summit
Fewer rivals out of the recession - Burnley
Expotel has increased its market share in the midst of a "significant downturn in hotel and business travel expenditure," ceo Ian Burnley said .
Mr Burnley said the hotel booking agency (HBA) had "secured some good new business wins" in the first quarter resulting in an increase in client hotel spend.
Expotel said it would consider acquisitions as rivals struggle from reduced corporate travel spend and a downsizing in hotel bookings.
"With GDP forecast to fall 4%+ in the UK this year, it is difficult to believe that levels of business travel expenditure will begin to recover until 2010," Mr Burnley said.
"We will make further acquisitions if opportunities arise although we are confident we will continue to increase our market share through new business wins.
"However, in this environment I am sure there will be fewer hotel booking agents and travel management businesses by the time we reach the other side of the recession."
Mr Burnley highlighted the need for HBA's to monitor clients' negotiated hotel programmes to maintain good value.
"We are constantly monitoring our clients' hotel programmes and although the hotels are reporting a reduction in average room rates overall, our clients' business rate programmes are still well based with negotiated rates generally running at a discount to best available rates," he said.
Mr Burnley said a new ‘billback' service had been put in place as part of Expotel's move to Manchester in January.
The Guild of Travel Management Companies yesterday (May 5) described billbacks as extra hotel charges sometimes imposed on clients (see GTMC acts on "billback" problem).
The Guild labelled such charges a "major source of discontent" and announced plans to address the problem with hotels.