The costs of travel will continue to challenge travel managers and corporations. Average ticket prices (ATPs) for air travel have, on average, increased in North America, decreased in Asia Pacific and increased or decreased in Europe based on destination, Egencia reported in its 2011 Global Corporate Travel Benchmarking Study. The study evaluates the current business travel landscape and supply environment for air, hotel and car inventory. Egencia is a unit of Expedia.
Average daily rates (ADRs) for hotel stays have increased in the majority of business destinations, reversing previous trends. Increased ATPs can be largely attributed to rising fuel costs, tightly managed capacity and increased demand in some points of sale. Similarly, ADRs have increased in the majority of business destinations due to an increase in demand, reduction in new supply and improved occupancy rates.
"The pricing landscape has made a noticeable shift from this time last year," said Chris Vukelich, vice president, Supplier Relations, Egencia Americas. "The once soft hotel landscape is now experiencing a strong return in demand alongside air. Even though ATPs and ADRs have increased, opportunities for savings can still be found. In addition to the opportune car pricing landscape, travel managers should look to their TMCs to identify additional savings opportunities in hotel."
As a result of increased cost pressures in Q1 2011, ATPs have increased for most routes departing from North America. These increases can be largely attributed to higher fuel prices, tighter management of capacity, strong demand on major corporate routes, and continued airline consolidation. For travel within North America, ATPs have increased by an average of 13 percent. ATPs for destinations in Europe are up one percent, and down four percent for Asia.
Hotel Average Daily Rates (ADRs)
In the first quarter of 2011, hotel ADRs increased in most major business destinations, reversing the downward trends from the previous year. The increase in ADRs can be attributed to the return of corporate demand, reduced scale of new supply, and improved occupancy. In contrast, the meetings and incentive business has yet to recover in several markets, and high fuel prices have cut into some discretionary income.
Car Rental Rates Per Day (RPD)
In the United States rates per day (RPD) have fallen on average by five percent YoY in Q1 of 2011, and are now back to rates seen in 2008. The decreased RPD can be attributed to the improving supply situation in the marketplace, as financing restrictions become less stringent for vendors. Additionally, larger companies have increased their fleets in anticipation of further industry consolidation.
Travel Management Trends
According to respondents of Egencia's survey of nearly 350 travel buyers, 54 percent of buyers expect their travel volumes to increase during the remainder of 2011, with 17 percent planning to change their travel policies during the year. Additionally, 38 percent of travel buyers said they will negotiate more this year than they did in 2010.
Travel Managers universally identified cost control/reducing spend as the greatest challenge facing travel programs. Specific rankings of travel program challenges are as follows:
• Cost control/reducing expenses (79 percent)
• Traveler satisfaction (43 percent)
• Traveler compliance/policy enforcement (42 percent)
• Capturing a full view of travel spend (40 percent)