Economic concerns don’t seem to impact 2024 biz-travel budgets


Nearly three-quarters of travel buyers expect their travel budgets to increase or hold steady next year, and most said they don’t expect economic concerns to limit business travel at their company, according to a Global Business Travel Association Outlook Poll released this week.

The poll, fielded from Oct. 11 through Oct. 19, tallied 865 total responses globally, 47% of which came from either travel managers and buyers or procurement or sourcing professionals. Among those buyer and procurement respondents, 39% said their company’s 2024 travel budget would be higher than this year’s, and an additional 5% said it would increase “significantly” more, by at least 25% year over year. Twenty-eight percent said their budgets would stay the same next year, while 20% said budgets will be lower. The remaining 8% didn’t know what their budgets will be next year.

Only 14% of buyer and procurement respondents said they currently are implementing a plan to limit business travel because of economic concerns, according to the GBTA.

An additional 25% said they are considering limits but have not yet made a decision. A quarter of respondents also said limiting business travel due to economic concerns was unlikely, alongside 32% who said they are taking a “wait-and-see approach” but are not seriously considering limits to business travel.

“With some exceptions, as an industry global business travel has continued to rebound over the past year and has made great strides in getting back to business as usual,” GBTA CEO Suzanne Neufang said. “Ongoing challenges are expected, but there are optimistic indicators for an even stronger year ahead.”

Across all respondents, which also included suppliers and travel management companies, 43% said their company’s business travel had fully or largely recovered this year when compared with 2019 levels, and 41% said it had mostly recovered. Fourteen percent said it had partially recovered.

On average, respondents indicated their domestic travel bookings are at 76% of pre-pandemic levels, an increase of four percentage points from an April GBTA poll. International bookings averaged 70% of 2019 levels among respondents, up seven percentage points from April.

NDC Gains Some Ground

The poll also showed some softening in buyers’ attitudes on NDC technology from April, though most buyers still indicate they are at sea in terms of NDC strategies.

Among buyer and procurement respondents, 71% said they still need more information and education on NDC, which represents a drop of 10 percentage points from the April poll. Fewer buyers think airlines are pushing NDC bookings too fast as well, with 45% saying so in the current poll compared with 53% in April.

Just under a third of buyer and procurement respondents in the survey indicated that they have started to implement NDC in their programs. Ten percent said they have started an implementation that is going smoothly, while 22% said they have started an implementation but are experiencing challenges. Half of the buyer and procurement respondents said they have not started NDC implementation; an additional 11% said it’s “too early to say,” and the remaining 6% were not sure.

Across all poll respondents, 46% listed adoption and implementation on new technologies, including NDC, as one of their organizations’ two biggest technology-related challenges in 2024, the highest percentage of any option in the poll. Budget constraints ranked second, at 38%.

This report was initially published by Business Travel News.

Courtesy of Travel Weekly

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