1st February 2015
According to a 2012 study conducted by the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA), business travel spending in the UK, Germany, France, Italy and Spain is set to increase by 3.4%, rendering it the largest projected gain since the recession. As Catherine McGavock, regional director for Europe for GBTA states, "Challenges remain but we cannot ignore the economic progress that has been made and the impact that this will have on both domestic and international travel across Western Europe".
Despite this positive outlook, as published in Forbes, the United Kingdom ranked 5th, with a total spend of £40.2 billion, in 2012, behind Germany, in the list of top ten business travel markets. Compared with 2011, the UK market only showed a 0.1% growth, with China having grown 13.2%. So, what can the UK business travel industry do to boost its corporate travel incentives?
Head of the World Tourism Organisation (WTO), Taleb Rifai, affirms that a country enjoyed by his clients is "a destination where visitors can enjoy". If we consider that nearly 50% of business travellers are between 34 and 54 years of age, with another 26% aged between 18 and 34 years of age, as reported by IHS (Information Handling Services), then business trips need to adopt an interactive or dynamic outlook, in order to keep this majority of young attendees engaged.
A member of the PCMA's research team stated (Professional Convention Management Association), "If you motivate the millennial with an inspiring and fun event, they will come." This statement supported the finding of the research team, who, after surveying a group of conference participants aged between 18 and 30, found that 89% listed career networking as a main motive for meetings, with 93% looking for a mix of education and entertainment.
A new study, also conducted by GBTA in 10 countries, with the sponsorship of AirPlus International, aimed to identify the top priorities of business travellers when working away from home and what they require to increase their productivity levels. According to this study, main matters of concern related to security, health, communication, and interestingly, sustainability. Click here to view the full GBTA findings.
To list some statistics, approximately 65% of employees seemed keen on maintaining their daily diet and exercise regimen, while 75% also listed the ability to contact friends and family as a top priority. The environmental impact of frequent trips concerned 65% of employees, 58% of whom expressed a need for recycling facilities and the ability to take public transport or walk to meetings.In terms of what could be the cause of increased stress levels during a business trip, the majority of employees stated lengthy travel times. Approximately 44% of those interviewed stated that late night or weekend travel was a key reason for stress. On the other hand, the major requisite for a successful business travel was the ability to discover new locations and local cultures.
From the various studies mentioned above, it can be concluded that if companies organising meetings and conferences factor in some time for attendees to have the possibility to schedule in some of their own interests during their trip, whether in the UK or abroad, the outcome is far more likely to be positive.