• United States

Business travel down

Aug 07, 20032 mins
Data Center

* Travel spending down according to National Business Travel Association survey

Been on a business trip lately? Travel expenses are one of the first things companies cut in a downturn, and as bad economic conditions persist companies find ways to trim even more. Business travel spending is down in 2003, according to the results of a survey from the National Business Travel Association.

In the NBTA survey of 204 travel managers conducted in June, 58% of respondents reported some decrease in travel spending compared to the same time last year. However, 31% of those questioned said their travel spending has increased. What’s more, 40% of respondents expect to be using more hotel rooms in 2003, while nearly 30% say their hotel room usage will remain flat.

“Over the last couple of years, the business travel industry has been hit by major economic, political and health crises,” NBTA President and CEO Kevin Iwamoto says. “But travel is an essential part of doing business and we will start to see a return to healthy spending as companies gradually return to normal commerce and business activity.”

Some of the policies companies are implementing to control travel spending include using mid-priced hotel brands instead of luxury properties (78%), booking flights on discount airlines (73%), using alternative airports to save on airfare (60%), requiring senior-level executives to fly coach class (44%).

The good news for the walloped travel industry is that travel managers security concerns have been addressed, and just waiting for the economy to improve. More than half of respondents (61%) haven’t been hearing complaints from traveling employees regarding security inconveniences or inconsistencies. In 2002 45% of respondents said improving security is the second most important factor in boosting travel levels. By contrast, this year security ranks a mere 8.6%.

Nearly three-fourths of respondents (74%) say the economic health of their company is essential for the rebound of business travel. “As this and past NBTA surveys have shown, economic conditions must improve before business travel will return to normal levels,” Iwamoto says.

For more information about the NBTA, go to