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75% of travel managers in Europe expect 2022 business travel volume to surpass 2019 levels

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Latest Cvent Travel Manager Report: Europe Edition, highlights growing need for hotels to prepare for business travel rebound and adapt to changing priorities.

LONDON – Cvent, a market-leading meetings, events, travel and hospitality technology provider, published the latest instalment of the Cvent Travel Managers Report: Europe Edition, which provides in-depth insights into current corporate travel trends and activity. The report reveals significant levels of optimism amongst corporate travel managers. Three quarters (75%) of respondents expect their organisation’s 2022 travel volume to eclipse 2019 levels, with more than a third (32%) citing they expect volumes to “increase significantly”. According to respondents, reasons for increased travel volume include:

  • “There’s a need for our employees to meet face-to-face for training and business purposes.”
  • “Our business needs to learn from other markets.”
  • “We’re looking to expand internationally: new partners, clients and investors.”
  • “More travel highlights our desire to expand our exposure to new markets.”

The report provides further green shoots as the data indicates that organisations are keen to source travel across borders. More than 69 per cent of travel managers in the UK and across Europe say they are sourcing internationally (both within and outside of Europe). In contrast, fewer than eight per cent of travel managers are sourcing exclusively domestic options, demonstrating the significant shift towards a desire to travel more broadly.

Graham Pope, Vice President Sales, Cvent Europe said: “The results in this report illustrate the incredible opportunity that exists for hospitality professionals as organisations look to get their employees back on the road and engaging with their clients and prospects face-to-face to fuel their growth. After a difficult couple of years, such a significant resurgence in the market is great news for the hospitality industry and will especially benefit suppliers that are able to adapt their sales and marketing strategies to engage their buyers in a more dynamic way. While labour shortages are still a challenge, we hope this positive momentum inspires a greater focus on the critical importance of the hospitality industry, and the people who help deliver incredible experiences.”

Additional highlights include:

Travel budgets growing as business travel recognised as critical way to drive revenue

  • The report also reveals the majority (81%) of respondents expect their business travel budget per trip to increase in 2022, compared to spend levels of 2019. Whilst this increase is partly attributed to rising airline and hotel costs within the sector, corporate travel managers also cite other considerations including business travel being recognised as an instrumental way to expand sales – therefore increased budget is required to help achieve targets. 

Travel managers also source for meetings and events 

  • 88 per cent of corporate travel managers surveyed are responsible for sourcing hotels for meetings and events in addition to sourcing for employee travel, with 64% citing event types include large external conferences and trade shows. Regionally the markets where there is the most crossover in roles are the Netherlands (95%) and France (91%). With expanded roles and responsibilities, travel professionals are frequently managing larger budgets and have increased buying power. Industry suppliers need to understand these emerging buyer dynamics to build better relationships and attract more delegates and programmes to their hotels, venues and destinations.

Changing programme priorities

  • More than 83 per cent of respondents reported that their travel programme considerations have either significantly or somewhat changed when compared to 2019. Areas that have increased in importance include vendor flexibility, environmental sustainability, and traveller preferences, among others.
  • Travel managers have also become more interested in dual or dynamic rate offers from hotels. More than two thirds (62%) of respondents say they are now more open to discussing these types of rates than they were in 2019, demonstrating a desire to compare rates to maximise value. These insights can help hoteliers better understand their buyers and prepare for more successful negotiations.
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