The annual business travel buyer survey by the Business Travel Show, which takes place in London in February, found a four per cent rise in the number of business travel buyers who have bigger budgets to pay for employees flights and accommodation this year than last.
It is the third consecutive annual rise in the number of buyers enjoying bigger budgets and underlines a return of confidence to the market, said David Chapple, event director, Business Travel Show.
Last year, many hotel brands, including Thistle, Jurys Inn, De Vere and Pullman invested in their meetings and conference facilities and improved their appeal to the corporate traveller to take advantage of a return in confidence to the market.
Business advisory firm BDO also reported a 6.5 per cent growth in year on year room yield in London at the end of 2013 which it attributed to the rise in the number of corporate travellers.
“The survey results are great news for buyers, who have faced intense pressure over the last couple of years to cut costs and stretch budgets,” said Chapple.
“The figures in our survey also support the GBTA’s own predictions that the UK business travel industry is heading for very strong growth in 2014 and 2015 and, following a trying few years, Western Europe’s major markets should see a bounce back over the next five years.”
The predominantly UK-based 183 travel, category and procurement managers who took part in the survey and are responsible for annual budgets of more than £3m were also asked about the biggest issues facing them and the industry over the next 12 months.
The New Distribution Channel (NDC) - the IATA-led, industry-supported initiative to develop an XML-based data transmission standard for communications between airlines and travel agents - was the biggest concern while travel management 2.0, sustainability, meetings management and mobile technology also figured highly. There were also concerns about free Wi-Fi in hotels and on airlines and terrorism.