Travel expenses still kept in check

1 Mar 2010

As the sluggish global economy gets its act together, a new survey by Business Traveller in collaboration with financial conglomerate Citigroup, has revealed that corporate travel managers continue to keep a tight watch on travel spend. 

Companies are observing strict policies, with 70 percent saying that air travel in Business Class was permitted for flights lasting more than six hours. Another 18 percent of those surveyed said employees were put in the Business cabin on a flight of at least three hours duration, while the remaining 12 percent said they were not entitled to this class of travel.

The results were obtained from 33 respondents based in Asia-Pacific who were treasury, travel and expense managers for multinational companies from the US, Europe, Japan and Korea.

But according to the survey, 64 percent of respondents said their company did not use low-cost carriers for business travel, compared with 36 percent who did.

Philip M Glickman, director, commercial cards Asia-Pacific, Citigroup, said: “The idea of the survey was to leverage our large client base to gain a better understanding regarding business travel trends for 2010. T&E is one of the highest expenses and is usually cut when the economy goes down.

“(Based on the results) we notice business travel market is rebounding in a very controlled manner as travel managers continue to be cautious regarding expenses.”

The majority, or 66 percent of respondents, said they expected to see an increase in company travel budget, with nearly half predicting a 10 percent increase. However, the remaining 34 percent said they anticipated a 10 to 30 percent decrease or no change in company travel budget.

The survey also found that 73 percent are mostly filing expense reports using web-based travel cost management solutions such as Concur and Spendvision. Over 90 percent mandated a travel agent or management company for business travel, while 79 percent used a corporate card during work trips.

Julian Tan

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