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Corporates Return To Long-Haul Flying


6 July 2009

Corporates Return To Long-Haul Flying

Corporate travel trends to emerge in the first few months of 2009 for Asia Pacific indicate companies are starting to slowly spread their wings and resume long-haul travel, according to FCm Travel Solutions.

While demand on key corporate routes to destinations in the US and Europe remains sluggish, early indications, particularly in the months of April and May, now show businesses in Asia Pacific are beginning to travel outside the region again.

The return to long-haul flying is one of a number of corporate travel trends to come out of an industry wrap-up of the start of 2009, conducted by leading travel management consultancy FCm Travel Solutions.

FCm data shows corporates also are closely scrutinizing their travel programs and modifying their preferred hotel programs to include more 3.5 and four star hotel properties. Businesses shifting to lower rated properties are requesting more inclusions such as free-wireless and discounted dining.

Small to medium sized businesses that have embraced an open skies policies for air travel have been able to reduce the average price of tickets by as much as 15 per cent.

FCm Travel Solutions general manager New Zealand, Jenny Macdonald said one of the more positive trends to emerge from the 2009 first quarter had been the massive savings corporates have achieved as a result of changes made late last year to corporate travel programs.

“The impact of the global financial crisis has forced many companies to revise their travel programs and corporate travel culture to ensure the same level of travel for less money,” Ms Macdonald said.

“During September and November of 2008 travel policies were revised in two ways which resulted in more travellers using Economy class and directives included in travel programs to consider more cost effective alternatives.

“We are seeing more business travellers taking accountability for their travel spend and managing their travel needs in a smarter fashion to ensure they can do the same number of trips and contain costs.

“These policy changes combined with the current climate of discounted rates are yielding significant savings for our clients.”

Other areas of corporate travel programs that have come under review this year have been corporate deals with airlines, hotels and cars.

Corporates have been focusing on maximising value for money on supplier products and services and renegotiating products due to downgraded air class travel and hotel accommodation.

Ms Macdonald said that during the first quarter of 2009 there had been a dramatic change in business travel patterns that had affected airlines and hotels.

“The changes we have seen this past quarter are a good reminder to TMCs and corporates of how flexible and nimble we need to be to adapt to a constantly changing economic environment and to successfully drive continued value from our travel programs,” she said.


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