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Wed 29 Sep 2010 12:11 PM

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Post-recession budget hangover

Corporates seem to have taken one lasting lesson from the recession: to save all their money on travel costs, says Monika Grzesik.

Post-recession budget hangover
WASHINGTON - MAY 23: People walk through the terminal at Reagan National Airport May 23, 2008 in Washington, DC. The Memorial Day holiday weekend is experiencing the first decline in years. In addition to record gas prices causing rising airline ticket costs, travelers this summer will also face fewer flights scheduled.
Post-recession budget hangover

While the future’s looking brighter now when it comes to matters of the economy, with everyone using words like ‘recovery’ and ‘back to business’ - when it comes to travel it appears that corporates seem to have taken one very lasting lesson from the shock of the recession, and that’s to save all their money on travel costs.

Travel management companies I’ve spoken to recently have all commented that while the ridiculous global travel bans that prevented executives from flying anywhere internationally, conducting overseas business or attending global conferences have thankfully been rescinded (luckily people seem to have realised you just can’t replace a video link-up for a face-to-face meeting for sheer networking value) - today it seems that businesses are going budget.

Instead of sipping champagne in the luxury of the business-class section, today executives are flying economy, and - shock horror – even favouring low cost carriers in order to save the pennies. You only have to look at the sheer number of airlines that have ditched their first and business class sections completely to see that demand is dwindling for the premium seats.

One TMC told me that the post-recession travel budgets were unlikely to ever return to pre-2009 levels. “The travel industry will never be the same as we experienced before. Times have changed,” he said gloomily.

And with corporates cutting back so much, it follows that TMCs will have to make some pretty serious changes to the way they do business if they are going to remain profitable in this new frugal travel environment.

What’s your experience? Do you think travel spend will ever return to those heady, first- class using, champagne swilling, pre-recession days? And if not how does your company plan to work within this new reality?

Monika Grzesik is the Editor of Arabian Travel News.

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dubaiagentnet 9 years ago

i agree with you entirely monika. as since the recession began the first thing to be slashed from a corporate account was the travel budget. indeed many businesses have scut thier tavke budgets completely. yes business is increasing but in terms of business trsvel will not be the same as pre recession. dont beleive anyone who tell you other.

john 9 years ago

my company took the totally opposite approach. during the recession i've been travelling more than ever before - often 3 or 4 countries a week - and now the company is doing quite well with some new international clients (we are a pr firm). the truth is that during tough times your clients need reassurance and if you dont get out there and meet them them face to face who's to day you wont loose that business?