Dramatic changes in travel spend plans
More than 70% of US travel managers plan to spend less this year, according to a new survey by the Association of Corporate Travel Executives (ACTE).
The poll found that while 71% would spend less and 21% would spend about the same, only 8% said they would spend more.
This compares with an earlier ACTE poll last September. This found that 33% of US travel managers would spend less, 31% would spend the same and 36% would spend more.
ACTE said the collapse of the global economy had had a "profound impact on the business travel industry."
The rise in travel managers planning to spend less was one of the most significant changes in the last six months which the ACTE 2009 Business Travel Spend Survey found.
Susan Gurley, ACTE's executive director, said the drop in consumer confidence had profoundly affected demand.
"This has a massive trickledown effect on business travel. Among the hundreds of thousands of layoffs reported in the US alone, there are literally thousands of business travellers now removed from business travel circulation," she said.
The survey also found that the area hardest hit by the recession was internal meetings.
ACTE found that companies were targeting these non-revenue producing meetings as they could account for 40% of a travel budget.
Alternatives were allowing companies to save as much as $10m on their travel spend without compromising their business objectives.
Interest in alternatives to travel had jumped from 32% in 2007 to 50% this year. This made it buyers' number one priority for the year.
The survey also found that 61% of buyers had approached their suppliers to re-negotiate contracts mid-term while 83% believed hotels were a potential source of savings.
The survey also placed Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) at the buyers' bottom priority, compared to the economy and costs.
Ms Gurley said: "Corporate Social Responsibility has not fallen from favour in these challenging times.
"As the survey shows, however, good CSR does not automatically include greener travel choices, as under present conditions these frequently conflict with the greater urge and necessity to cut costs."