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Even as Business Travel Increases, Agency Fees Are Impacted

May 10, 2011 By: George Dooley Home-Based Travel Agent

While 2010 saw signs of recovery for corporate travel programs, the industry should see a greater increase in business travel in 2011, according to a new survey from GetThere, a travel management firm. The survey revealed that while business travel is increasing, corporations are still heavily focused on reducing travel expenses.

The report, the 11th annual GetThere Corporate Travel Benchmark Survey, revealed that that 61 percent of respondents expect their travel budgets to increase up to 10 percent in 2011 and nearly a third expect their travel budgets to increase up to 5 percent. Yet corporations continue to drive down travel costs by achieving higher adoption rates of online travel booking tools like GetThere, the company said.

“Even though the economy is rebounding and business travel is growing, corporations are using the lessons learned during the recession to continue to push for cost savings in their travel programs,” explained Suzanne Neufang, general manager of GetThere. “Online adoption rates continue to rise in every region, representing significant savings for corporations.”

Average online adoption rates for GetThere customers increased for the 10th consecutive year. In North America, responding companies reported an average of 78 percent online adoption in 2010, up one percentage point from 2009, and GetThere’s top 10 performing customers reported an average high of 95 percent online adoption. GetThere’s online adoption remains well above the industry average of 51 percent, according to PhoCusWright’s U.S. Travel Distribution 2009 Report.

As a result of higher online adoption rates, respondents reported the following savings, GetThere reported:

• An average savings of 70 percent on agency fees 

• An average savings of 18 percent and 24 percent on domestic and international airfares, respectively 

• An average savings of 12 percent and 31 percent on domestic and international hotel rates, respectively.

• Average rental car rental savings were 4 percent domestically and 18 percent internationally

“This survey shows that GetThere is delivering on our promise to help corporations and the travel management companies who support them generate savings through increased online adoption rates, visual guilt and dynamic messaging and an efficient user interface,” said Neufang.

Ancillary Fees

In 2011, more corporations are addressing ancillary fees in their travel policies as airlines continue to introduce extra fees. In general, most companies are reimbursing travelers for their first checked bag. However, the survey showed a 16 percentage point drop in companies that reimburse travelers for a second bag. Companies reimbursing for on-board food and beverage and Wi-Fi increased by 13 and 20 percentage points, respectively.

“Ancillary fees are here to stay and corporations are developing smart, thoughtful travel policies for these extras that maximize travel budgets and meet employees’ needs while on the road. Onboard Wi-Fi is clearly viewed as a valuable productivity tool by more and more corporate travel managers,” said Neufang.

Mobile Space Growth

As corporations continue looking for new technologies and methods to save time and money when it comes to travel programs, mobile tools are invaluable, GetThere said. The mobile space continues to be a growth space for the travel industry, and for the second straight year, respondents ranked obtaining flight information as the most important feature of a mobile solution, while booking flights and hotels ranked second and third, respectively.

The GetThere corporate travel survey annually tracks business travel patterns at some of the world’s leading corporations that currently use GetThere. GetThere customers include a majority of Fortune 200 companies that use online travel booking sites. Across all customer segments, GetThere enables nearly $9 billion in annual business travel spend.

The GetThere Corporate Travel Benchmark Report is based on a survey of 60 leading companies and organizations that currently use GetThere. These benchmarks provide a snapshot of the online travel trends, savings and adoption techniques that are currently in use at leading companies. The report also includes benchmark breakouts for specific industries and regions as well as results for mid-market and large-market companies. All results are based on travel data as self-reported by each company's travel department.



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By George Dooley | May 10, 2011
A new survey shows that corporations will continue to push for cost savings by addressing ancillary fees in their travel policies.
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