0Business travel is back on the corporate agenda, according to specialists Carlson Wagonlit Travel (CWT).
The company reports handling 29.4 million transactions during the first six months of this year, a 13.2 per cent increase compared to a year earlier.
CWT reports the greatest gains in traffic in Latin America (up 48.1 per cent) and Asia Pacific (43.5 per cent).
In North America, traffic increased 18.2 per cent, while EMEA (Europe, Middle East, Africa) showed more modest growth of 7.7 per cent), reflecting slower economic recovery in the region.
CWT also reported new sales, excluding renewals, of US$781 million.
CWT president and chief executive officer Douglas Anderson adds a cautionary tone, that traffic has not yet returned to pre-recessionary levels.
“Nonetheless, it is clear to us that companies fully understand the role business travel and meetings and events plays in helping them successfully reach their objectives,” Anderson says.
CWT is also picking up signs of economic recovery in the first half of this year for meetings and events.
In Europe, CWT clients are organising 30 per cent of their meetings outside of their home country, compared to 20 per cent one year ago, the company reports, with Barcelona, Madrid, Nice, Paris and Rome being the most popular destinations. Average spend per participant per day is now at €175, versus €150 last year and cancellations are down from 15 per cent to 10 per cent.
Anderson noted that clients were increasingly looking to combine “savings with impact”, taking a more strategic approach to managing not only their business travel expenditure but their meetings and events spend. This includes the implementation of specific policies, consolidation of their internal teams and suppliers, optimised data management and analysis, and more effective processes and technology.
“Companies realise that meetings and events help move business forward. As a result, they want to maximise the return on their investment by driving savings, satisfaction and overall effectiveness,” says Anderson.