The Chinese market represents expansion opportunities for travel management companies, with business travel spend expected to more than quadruple by 2020.
According to the latest study, business travel in China is the third largest market in the world, and if current growth continues by 2020 it will be the second.
Business travel spend for 2010 is thought to reach $62 billion, and by 2020 forecasts predict an annual figure of $277 billion.
The study, by the Association of Corporate Travel Executives (ACTE) and travel payment company AirPlus International, also reveals differences in international and Chinese business travel standards.
According to Volker Huber, senior VP Global Distribution at AirPlus International, business travel management practices in Europe or the USA cannot easily be adapted to the Chinese market.
Employees who use company credit cards to pay for travel represent 13%, and only 10% have suitable travel guidelines or analytical tools.
“Air travel accounts for 85% of all business trips within China. If the costs are not correctly controlled and analysed, companies are faced with unmanageable and exorbitant expenses,” said Huber.
Travel managers have less time to perform their tasks, according to the study. Some 90% of Chinese business travel managers complain of time pressure, nearly a third more than international travel managers.
In conclusion, Huber urged companies who operate in China to “give thought to effective travel management and to develop corresponding programs”.