Travel survey predicts steady growth


Results from a corporate travel survey conducted in 2004 predict year-over-year growth in 2005 business travel in the UAE will maintain 2004 levels, and that travel management companies (TMCs) will continue to grow their important role as helping companies manage their travel budgets through supporting policy compliance.

The survey of corporate travel trends and policies, conducted by AC Nielsen and TRS Consulting and sponsored by Lufthansa Airlines in February-March 2004, interviewed decision makers and senior managers at 52 companies, from banking to construction to oil and gas, shipping and service, in UAE. 
Based on the travel spends of the companies surveyed and the changes they indicated for 2005, the survey estimates that business travel in the UAE should grow 5.5 per cent this year, compared to 5.7 per cent in 2004.   
Independent of travel spend, nearly three quarters of the companies interviewed (73 percent) have a documented travel policy.  The number jumps to 86 per cent for those companies with larger spend, exceeding 335,000 euros (Dh1.5 million) annually. Nearly 70 per cent of the corporations surveyed said they have not changed their travel policy. 
Although self-booking via the internet is a growing trend, it is still very limited. Nearly all companies use at least one TMC, and most using more than one. TMCs can improve their role as travel managers by facilitating the procurement of preferred corporate pricing with hotels and airlines for their corporate clients, given the little direct corporate contact with these entities, especially hotels. Only 15 per cent of companies interviewed had a contract with a hotel and only a quarter with an airline.  Emirates, KLM and Air India were the three dominant carriers to have corporate contracts.