Reducing costs within the travel programme is the top concern for buyers in 2014, according to research from ATPI Group.
More than half of respondents to the study ranked reducing costs as the most important factor when planning a global travel programme.
The study found travel buyers plan to use different strategies to help tackle costs with the majority aiming to put a greater emphasis on travel planning, with about 55 per cent making more advanced air bookings in 2014, compared to 50 per cent in 2013.
Buyers also ranked having a flexible travel policy as a key concern for 2014. ATPI said the “increased consideration for flexibility and advanced planning carries the implication that business travel is becoming increasingly important as part of the economic recovery”.
ATPI’s COO for Europe and the USA Peter Muller, said: “Despite optimism at the start of the year regarding economic growth, the message from buyers is clear, reducing costs is still the main priority when it comes to business travel.
“Despite optimism at the start of the year regarding economic growth, the message from travel buyers is clear, reducing costs is still the main priority when it comes to business travel.
“What buyers are also looking for and where they value a strategic partnership with their TMC’s is tailored solutions and flexible technology.
“When it comes to delivering true consultancy services and ultimately defining a corporate travel programme, there is no such thing as a one size fits all approach.
“It is the TMC’s that recognise and embrace this desire for client freedom and flexibility whilst at the same time paying due diligence to duty of care, that are the most valued business partners."
In addition to focus on costs and forward planning, consideration of ‘duty of care’ is still a key consideration for buyers, the study found.
“It is a responsibility that extends throughout an organisation from travel managers, to HR and senior management, to ensure any travel management plan has sufficient risk assessment and a robust safety strategy in place,” said ATPI.
The research of more than 150 buyers was conducted by ATPI Group at the 2014 Business Travel Show.