One third of corporate travel buyers say they will have bigger budgets in 2019, but the proportion of positive respondents is lower than in 2018, according to research.
The annual survey of 134 buyers by the Business Travel Show also showed a troubling trend – 15 per cent of respondents said they think they will have lower budgets this year, compared to 13 per cent who felt the same in 2018.
Meanwhile, 53 per cent said their budgets will stay the same as last year.
Namely, buyers will see a reduction in their accommodation budgets – 14 per cent compared to 24 per cent last year. Adding to pressure to spend less, half of those polled believe they’ll book the same number of room nights – up from 31 per cent in 2018 – while 40 per cent predict more (although this is lower than 45 per cent last year).
There is also a slight rise in those with less to spend on air (16 per cent compared to 11 per cent).
Along with the fall in budgets, only a third of those polled believe they will have to manage more trips this year – a big drop from the 45 per cent who said the same in 2018.
However, buyers seem slightly more optimistic that travel costs will level out, with only 43 per cent saying they predict an increase in costs compared to 47 per cent last year.
Commenting on the possible reasons for a downturn in confidence, David Chapple, group event director of the Business Travel Show, said: “The wobble shown by these results may reflect the uncertainty and dent in confidence the industry is currently experiencing in the light of Brexit. Despite the EU agreeing to the government’s plan to divorce, how Brexit will affect business travel for the UK and Europe is still very much conjecture and, unsurprisingly, organisations are remaining cautious about spend.”
The Business Travel Show is celebrating its 25th year during the 2019 event, which takes place at Olympia London from 20-21 February. Buying Business Travel is official media partner for the show.