Total compensation for corporate travel buyers and meetings managers increased in 2010 by 5.3 percent to an average of $96,851. The finding was based on the responses of 250 corporate travel and meetings managers working in the U.S. and Canada according to the NBTA Foundation, the education and research arm of the National Business Travel Association (NBTA).
The foundation released the results of the 2010 Travel Management Compensation and Benefits Survey, which found that, overall, more than six in ten (63%) travel buyers surveyed said they were satisfied with their compensation, up from last year (56%).
“The industry is breathing a sigh of relief as we begin seeing and experiencing the long awaited business travel recovery, which is demonstrated by this year’s respondents who observed considerable increases in their travel budgets and reported a bump in their own salaries as well,” said Craig Banikowski, president and CEO of NBTA.
“Travel buyers remained optimistic last year despite hardships and cutbacks," Banikowski said. "They are building on positive momentum in 2010 as growth returns to companies and travel budgets and travel professionals continue to contribute to their companies’ performance by using the cost-saving disciplines they’ve acquired during the recession."
Compensation levels for travel professionals were clearly correlated with the sales volume of their employers, with salary levels tending to increase as company sales volumes increase, the survey said. The average year-over-year salary adjustment among respondents also varies by job title, the survey said, noting that when comparing compensation by job title, percentages vary by the sample sizes of respondents in each category:
• Vice presidents saw a salary increase of 39.7 percent to $170,375.
• Directors, a 2.0 percent increase to $132,643.
• Managers, a 2.8 percent increase to $91,865.
• Supervisors, a 17.4 percent increase to $74,714.
• Coordinators/Specialists, a 13.4 percent increase to $58,274.
Additionally, travel managers with earned designations of Certified Corporate Travel Executive (CCTE), or Corporate Travel Executive (CTE) or Global Leadership Professional (GLP) certifications earned 1.2 percent more in compensation than their peers without these certifications.
“As the economic environment continues to improve we see travel taking a greater role in the growth of businesses overall," Banikowski said. "Likewise our survey shows that travel managers’ own compensation continues to improve as their value to the corporate top- and bottom-line is increasingly evident.”