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But savings gap is narrowing
Topaz International, an American consulting company, revealed travel agents continue to offer better deals for business travellers compared to public internet websites.
In its eighth yearly review, Topaz showed customers saved an average of $61 in 2008 if they booked with an agent, up from $56 in 2007.
Although the savings agents offer increased in 2008, the money customers save has declined drastically compared to 2001 when Topaz first began its research.
In 2001, customers saved an average of $171, which decreased to $154 in 2002. Money saved has not reached the $100-mark since, having dropped dramatically in 2003 to only $69.
Bradley Seitz, Topaz president and ceo, said that for every $10m spent there is a loss of savings of more than $100,000 each year.
"Not only does this add up very quickly, it provides great opportunity for improvement to your travel programme by eliminating the leakage," Mr Seitz said.
Because airfares are one of the highest expenses for many companies during tough economic times, Mr Seitz said ensuring travellers spend resources wisely is challenging for travel management professionals.