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Corporate Travel demand in Asia will increase significantly in 2005, and at a rate faster than the world overall

The 2004 Airclaims – BTN survey, now in its third year of operation, shows the most optimistic picture yet for regional corporate travel trends…

The 2004 Airclaims – BTN survey, now in its third year of operation, shows the most optimistic picture yet for regional corporate travel trends. Yet increasing competition, a widening range of products and services and technological change affecting all parts of the corporate travel chain, from suppliers to travel agents and travel managers, mean that it is more challenging than ever to win this premium value business.

After the downturns seen in 2002 and 2003, the 2004 report into future corporate travel in Asia Pacific, prepared by Airclaims in association with BTN Asia-Pacific, provides some key indicators for success in this changing marketplace.

The survey was carried out during August/ September 2004 among all the key parties involved in the business of Corporate Travel – the Travel Suppliers, the Travel Managers and the Travel Agents. In addition further survey information came from a regular survey of Global Corporate Travellers. The overall picture that appeared was an exciting and dynamic one – with a significant majority of all respondents expecting major changes in their business -and being prepared to face up to the challenge.

Some key findings:

Corporate travel demand in Asia will increase significantly in 2005, and at a rate faster than the world overall. 17% of travel managers see growth in flights and budgets of 10-20% and 50% see growth of 1-10%. Virtually no respondents see a decrease happening.

All respondent groups (c80% of each) underlined a belief that the Asia Pacific region would show leadership for the next five years in travel and tourism. There was also a strong belief (c60% agreeing) in the low cost model changing the airline business, although slightly less than last year.

With a strong belief in the opportunities growth would bring, it was credit card companies, banks, IT suppliers and GDS`s which were seen to generate the most profitability over the next five years while airlines were expected to generate the least. Hotels were seen to generate high volumes of growth, but not with the same level of profitability.

On the Travel Agency side the survey indicated a strong awareness of the rate of change in the Asia Pacific travel industry, and the need for agents to adapt their business to meet this challenge. Only 9% of agents saw the agency business model as `the same as now` in five years time.

Travel agents made a plea for more constructive support from airlines in a business where it was seen `we need each other`

The Internet while offering the threat of direct sales was however on balance seen generally as a positive tool to help the best agency businesses stay ahead of the game.

As last year the value of the agency service was underlined by travel managers who felt that the most important attribute was the element of personal service that travel agencies provide. 50% of travel managers mentioned this as the most positive aspect of agency service.

Travel managers rated the need for reliable and high speed internet connections above the need for business class service or lounges. Women only hotel floors were ranked as the least valuable business traveller service.

The travel suppliers felt that airlines and hotels would see the largest percentage of Internet generated revenues, and across the board the expectation of 20%+ of revenues over the internet for B2C transactions increased significantly

The report also confirms the significance of competition as a driver of change among corporate travel suppliers, as they seek to benefit from this expansive outlook.

The survey coverage: 460 respondents from the Corporate Travel sector in 19 countries across Asia Pacific, representing a wide range of Travel Agents, Travel suppliers and Corporate Travel Managers.

The following list of Hotels, airlines, airports and travel agencies were mentioned in the report:

Accor, Air New Zealand, American Express, Ascott, Asiana, Atlantic Pacific Radius, Auckland Airport, Bangkok Airport, Banyan, Best Western, Biztrav, Brisbane, British Airways, BTI, Business travel, Carlson Wagonlit Travel Cathay Pacific, China Airlines, Conrad International, Crowne, ctc, diatem, diet helm agency, dietam, diethelm, Dubai Airport, Dusit, easy jet, Emirates, Eva Air expedia, Farrington, FCm Travel Solutions / Flight CentreFirst Travel Group Members, Flight Centre, Four Seasons, Freme Travel, gem travel, Global Travel Pte Ltd, Globetrotter Corporate Travel, Grand Hotel International, GTT, Hansen, Hilton, Holiday Inn, Holiday Shoppe, Holiday tours, Hong Kong Chep Lap Kok, Hyatt, Intercontinental, J W Marr, Japan Airlines, JTB, Kuala Lumpur International Airport, Le Meridien, Malaysian Airlines, mananam travel, Mandarin, Marco Polo hotels, Marriott, mars man, Mayflower, Melbourne Airport, MICE, Mothman Travel, Muhibbah Travel, New Shan, Nikko, Novotel Pacific World, Pan Pacific, panorama tours, Panorama tours from Indonesia, Peninsula, Philippine Airlines, Qantas, Radisson, Raffles, Reliance Shipping & Travel Agencies, Ritz-Carlton, Shangri-la, Sheraton, signo americ, Silkair Sime Darby Travel, Singapore Airlines, Singapore Changi, Sino-America Tours, Six Continents, Starwood, Sydney Airport, Synergi, TBA, Thai Airways, The Aman, the Consold agency, Thos Cook, tis tours, Tokyo Narita, trade and travel corp, tradewinds, Travelplan, uni orient, UOB Travel, Westin, westminster travel, wing on travel, World Travel serice and Yeti Travels.

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Theodore is the Co-Founder and Managing Editor of TravelDailyNews Media Network; his responsibilities include business development and planning for TravelDailyNews long-term opportunities.

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