AirPlus Forecasts Corporate Travel Growth

Payment solutions provider AirPlus International this week released the results of its third annual AirPlus Travel Management Study. The study, comprised of research and interviews with 1,000 travel managers in 10 countries (nine in Europe and the United States), shows optimism for growth in business travel, especially in the U.S. where 61 percent of respondents said there would be more employee travel in 2008. However, 76 percent of respondents expected costs to rise accordingly.

More than 77 percent of U.S. respondents said they use corporate cards to pay for travel expenses (this is 18 percent higher than the study's overall average) and the usage did not vary much according to size of travel spend. Also, far more companies in the U.S., than elsewhere, have moved to electronic invoicing, with only 36 percent dependent on paper invoicing.

The study also reflects growth in the Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions (MICE) sector across all 10 countries, where 36 percent of respondents believe the volume will grow, up 10 percent from the preceding year's study. Another trend among those surveyed is that analysis tools are necessary for optimum cost transparency (66 percent), integration of data (65 percent), high data quality (62 percent) and stronger negotiating position with suppliers (60 percent).