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No Brexit impact on European business travel, finds report

American Express also finds that spending on corporate travel is set to grow by 2.5 per cent this year

Pictured: American Express' new report finds that travel professionals believe Brexit will have no impact on European business travel

Brexit is having no impact on the business travel market in Europe according to two thirds of travel professionals, who expect corporate travel spend will grow 2.5 per cent this year.

The findings come as part of American Express Global Business Travel’s newly-released 2016 European Business Travel Barometer.
Key findings from the survey, which polled 982 travel, HR and procurement professionals, are:

•       Business travel spend in Europe grew by 1 per cent in 2016
•       Business travel spend in Europe is forecast to increase by 2.5 per cent in 2017
•       More than two thirds report Brexit as having no impact on the business travel market in Europe

According to the survey, growth in travel spend in 2016 was driven by small and mid-size companies, which saw budget increases of 1.8 per cent and 2.1 per cent respectively. Geopolitical developments haven’t dented overall confidence with 67 per cent predicted Brexit would have no impact on the European business travel market.

Furthermore, companies increasingly see business travel as a force for growth. Instead of viewing it as a cost, almost half of companies consider travel as a form of investment; this proportion has increased by 28 percentage points in three years.

The trend is strongest in the UK, Germany and Scandinavia. More than three quarters (76 per cent) of UK companies reported that business travel plays an essential role in facilitating growth. The figure was 54 per cent in Germany and 53 per cent in Scandinavia.

The survey found that almost half of companies believe travel is an investment rather than a necessary cost, and that companies still consider business traveller safety to be more important than cost control.

Elyes Mrad, American Express GBT’s MD for EMEA, said: “The findings of this year’s Barometer reflect the positivity we’re seeing in the marketplace. Businesses are now looking to corporate travel as an investment to support growth objectives rather than treating it as a cost, with small and mid-sized businesses (SMEs) in particular leading the way. This SME sector is the backbone of all European economies; their optimism is good news for entire marketplace.

“Priorities are changing: duty of care and traveller satisfaction are now at the heart of travel programmes. Working together with a travel management company, a company can identify areas for cost-optimisation within their programme, while employing a traveller-centric approach to policy.”

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