Average prices for business travel increased in the first quarter of 2012, according to the American Express Business Travel Monitor, who reports that driving the increases are companies continuing to invest in travel to support growth while travel suppliers carefully manage supply.
Highlights from the Q1 2012 business travel monitoring include:
• Average domestic airfares increased six percent (6%) in Q1 2012 vs. Q1 2011 to $261
• Average international airfares increased four percent (4%) in Q1 2012 vs. Q1 2011 to $1933
• Average domestic hotel rates increased five percent (5%) in Q1 2012 vs. Q1 2011 to $157
• Average international hotel rates increased one percent (1%) in Q1 2012 vs. Q1 2011 to $240
Prices across all categories of service for trips originating in North America to domestic and international destinations have increased compared to the first quarter of 2011 as companies continue to invest in travel and suppliers effectively manage capacity.
“Prices rose in the first quarter as companies put travelers on the road to jumpstart 2012 business goals while supply remained relatively tight,” said Christa Degnan Manning, director, Expert Insights Research, American Express Global Business Travel.
“To optimize travel budgets in this environment, companies should look at how they are encouraging compliance with corporate travel policies with positive motivators, instead of punishments for non-compliance. Travelers should be rewarded for booking with preferred suppliers and taking cost-saving measures such as advance purchasing in ways that they appreciate. Strategies like these can demonstrate support to travelers throughout their journeys,” Degnan says.
"Power to help optimize budgets lays more and more in the hands of the traveler. As suppliers maintain a position of strength, companies should re-examine their travel policies to reflect current market conditions and the needs of their travelers. When travelers feel that they are given support and guidance to make appropriate and educated buying decisions, they likely make smarter decisions with their corporate dollars,"AMEX says.
"Helping travelers make smarter decisions include helping to making sure travelers not only know which providers are preferred, but also understand the benefits of using these suppliers over others. Travelers generally want to do what is best for their companies, but need to be clearly and simply told what that means and how they can help," AMEX says.
Recommended steps to drive savings include:
Book in advance – Fourteen day advance purchase can offer better priced airfare and more flexibility, which for the traveler means more choices of when to fly and where to sit.
Go preferred – Booking travel with preferred suppliers helps to deliver against corporate volume goals but also helps to ensure companies are maximizing negotiated savings and travelers on negotiated benefits such as premier status upgrades.
Get the perks – Ancillary fee policy details provide guidance for travelers on what is pre-negotiated, permitted, or not approved helping them understand what their benefits are.
Make educated decisions – Mobile devices and messages mean policies are more accessible whenever travelers are making their buying and booking decisions which encourages smart buying decisions.