Hogg Robinson reports more business trips being made by rail including Eurostar
Corporate travel recovery ‘slow but steady’
Business travel is undergoing a “slow but steady recovery”, according to the latest figures from HRG (Hogg Robinson Group).
The TMC (Travel Management Company) said that global air travel bookings rose by 3.2% in the first 3 months of 2013 compared to the same period last year.
There are also signs of improvement in the UK domestic market with transactions rising by 4.3% in the first quarter of this year.
But the number of flight bookings to major European markets fell – transactions to Germany and France fell by 1.5% and 5.2% respectively, and there were even bigger drops to Portugal, Italy and Greece.
The report said: “HRG figures reveal an increasing trend for business travellers to travel to France using high-speed rail services including Eurostar. Many companies have also changed their travel policy, requiring travellers to travel by rail for this particular route as it allows for work to be completed en route.”
India saw the strongest growth as a business travel destination in the first quarter of 2013 with transactions increasing by 11.1% year-on-year. Although both China and Brazil saw a fall in transactions by 2.3% and 6.1% respectively as their strong economic growth showed signs of slowing.
Overall business class sales fell 14.8% year-on-year while economy transactions rose by 0.5 per cent – HRG said the shift from business class to economy was “particularly acute in Europe”.
Stewart Harvey, HRG’s group commercial director, said: “The general picture is of an industry in slow but steady recovery. However, despite the improved view there is still a focus on cost by our clients and an increase in the use of economy fares, particularly on short-haul destinations. We’re also seeing rail re-emerge as a genuine alternative to air travel.
“The BRIC countries are now well established business travel destinations and, with the exception of India, the huge growth in air travel to these destinations is slowing.
“What we’re seeing now is significant growth coming from smaller, less established destinations, like Colombia in Latin America, and Ghana in Africa. These countries are poised for massive growth over the next decade as more international routes open up.”
Less travel at Hogg Robinson
22.5.2013 (Investors’ Chronicle)
North America was the hardest hit region as a Canadian banking client moved services online resulting in lower revenues and profits. In Asia Pacific, the Australian mining slowdown led to a double-digit revenue decline across the group’s operations and a slide into losses. Part of the shortfall was made up by expense management systems developer, Spendvision, which reported underlying operating profits up by £1m to £3.4m. Revenues rose a fifth, buoyed by demand from financial services clients.
A growing regional divide in premium traffic
by approximately 5% from the May-2009 low point. However, there are large differences
between the recovery of premium traffic in geographical markets, “reflecting the
very different pace of economic recovery in major economies”, according to IATA.
a 9.3% fall in Oct-2009), but the apparent improvement in traffic results reflects
the collapse in premium traffic in Nov-2008.
traffic volumes took place in the mid-year and there has been “little further
progress once seasonal fluctuations are taken into account”. On a month-to-month
basis, actual premium passenger numbers have actually declined and are still 20%
lower overall than traffic levels seen in early 2008.
IATA reports that average annualised growth since the Mar-2009 premium traffic
but only half the pace of previous-post recession rebounds”.
recovering, these regions represent a relatively small proportion of total premium
East, across the North Atlantic and the North and Mid-Pacific market) are still
declining, and have been among the worst falls in traffic for the year-to-date.
The US economy is showing more signs of life, but European markets “remain weak”,
particularly when it comes to premium traffic. Business travellers are “increasingly
travelling on economy seats, particularly on the shorter-haul markets”. Premium
traffic within Europe represents the single largest premium market by traffic
volume. However, it has lost more than a quarter of its traffic this year, with
the economic downturn exaggerating the structural shift towards economy travel
in the region.
bmi ditches short-haul Business Class
and Ireland services to/from London Heathrow Airport, removing the Business class
cabin from the services. The carrier has introduced a new single Economy cabin
with enhanced services for customers travelling on Flexible Economy fares, such
as guaranteed seating, use of lounges and complimentary food and beverages. The
new product will be rolled out on 27-Jan-2010.
Ireland product in response to customer feedback to meet their needs in a changing
marketplace”. He added, “customers travelling on our higher fares value business
lounges, a seat at the front of the aircraft and complimentary food and drink,
but most no longer have business class travel policies for short flight travel”.
In response, bmi has “created a new service which delivers these important benefits,
but on an all Economy aircraft, so they also benefit from a lower level of APD”.
the monthly datA.
seats, not at the high-yielding front of the aircraft. Economy passenger numbers
(representing over 91% of total international passenger numbers) have now recovered
4% above this year’s low point, but are still approximately 6% lower than in early
worldwide premium revenues have started to improve as a result tighter supply-demand
conditions, as airlines continue strong cuts to capacity and there is an upturn
in travel demand. IATA estimates premium revenues in Nov-2009 were approximately
12% lower than in Nov-2008 (although this is off last year’s weakened base).
conditions in regions with strongly developing economies, such as in the Asia
Pacific, the Middle East and South America.
up in the post-recession period, traffic volumes are improving. However, with
subdued forecasts for economic recovery in the developed world and the shift away
from premium seats for short-haul travel, the return of premium travel in the
largest markets is expected to be “sub-trend for some time”.
particularly in short-haul markets