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Business Travel is on Increase, Amadeus Reports

Business Travel is on Increase, Amadeus Reports

Over half of business travellers are left out of pocket as travel expenses fall out of policy. This is one of the findings of the annual insights report, ‘Amadeus Business Travel Insights: Business travel gets personal’, which is based on a survey of over 400 UK and Ireland adults who work for large companies and regularly travel for business. Meanwhile, Amadeus has acquired UFIS Airport Solutions, a leading airport information technology player. Amadeus Logo

Key findings of the Insights survey, which was conducted in December 2013 by ICM Research on behalf of Amadeus UK, include:

2013 saw an increase in business travel compared to 2012:

The report showed a small increase in business travel trips in 2013, with an average of 13.1 trips being taken per person compared to 12.7 in 2012. The number of individuals taking one or more business trips has doubled between 2011 and 2013 (4% v 8%), indicating that a greater breadth of employees across companies are making business trips. There is a clear link between seniority within the workplace and frequency of travel trips – over 80% of directors and MDs made 10 or more trips in the last 12 months.

Personalisation and efficiency are key:

Almost two-thirds of business travellers say ancillary services such as extra legroom, dietary requests and extra luggage are important to them. 10% of women stated they could not do without extra luggage allowances, compared to just 1% of men. Efficiency is also the main focus for business travellers, with 21% of travellers specifying that obtaining the closest hotel to the meeting is their top priority when travelling. The second greatest priority is connectivity, with 18% citing the ability to connect to wi-fi as their top travel need.

Travel budget cuts affect business:

One in 10 travellers believe that reduced travel has a negative effect on customer satisfaction or has resulted in lost business.

Men more out of pocket from expenses:

52% of business travellers have outstanding travel expenses, with nearly a fifth (18%) being out of pocket by more than £100. Men are twice as likely to be out of pocket by more than £100 compared to women. Expenses ‘falling out of policy’ is the most common reason for not being reimbursed (56%), followed by lost receipts (14%) and not being bothered to claim back (12%).

Roaming charges need to be watched:

19% of travellers were either completely unaware or need to be informed before each trip on the company policy on mobile roaming for where they are going. The implications of this are significant for company cost control, given the high cost of calls and data roaming in some countries.

Travel plays a significant role in employee satisfaction:

Business travellers are positive about the impact of business travel on working life – 96% say they like business trips or do not mind travelling for business. 55% of respondents stated they find business trips interesting, and women find business trips more motivating than men (21% v 15%). However, 21% of respondents state that budget cuts make them less willing to travel. 19% state that their company travel policy has a negative impact on how they feel about their employer.

Diane Bouzebiba, Managing Director, UK and Ireland, said: “We are delighted to see the growing optimism in economic outlook translating into an increase in travel as indicated by our survey, especially given the pivotal role it plays in both employee and customer satisfaction. The findings shine a spotlight on the variation in traveller requirements, enabled by the proliferation of online and mobile travel management tools, variation of travel choices on offer.

“A key focus for Amadeus is to support corporate travel departments to cater to the evolving needs of the traveller of tomorrow, by streamlining the entire lifecycle of a trip; from research and planning, booking and amendment, right through to post-trip expense reporting and analysis. We believe that travel managers and TMCs who aim to deliver a more personalised and connected travel experience will be rewarded with greater policy compliance and efficiency gains as a result.”

Amadeus Acquires UFIS Airport Solutions

Meanwhile, Amadeus has acquired UFIS Airport Solutions, a leading airport information technology player, to significantly enhance Amadeus’s existing position within the Airport IT industry.

UFIS brings to Amadeus a complementary suite of airport technology solutions based on UFIS’s 25 years of unique Airport IT software development expertise, as well as a set of important customer relationships worldwide with specific emphasis on Asia, the Middle East and Europe.

John Jarrell, Head of Airport IT, Amadeus, said: “This strategic acquisition accelerates our move into the Airport IT industry, confirming Amadeus as a key provider in this space, and emphasising our commitment to this sector. There are numerous synergies between the two companies including very strong management and development teams in addition to innovation and customer focus. Together, we are well positioned to shape the future of travel for the airport industry, which today stands at a business model crossroads, evolving more and more to become business-orientated service providers with passengers as their top priority.”

“The acquisition is very good news for our customers and employees worldwide who will now benefit from the addition of Amadeus’s scale, global reach, and travel industry expertise, a solid foundation to revolutionise the airport experience to meet the needs of today’s sophisticated travellers,” said Holger Mattig, President and Chief Executive, UFIS Airport Solutions. “We are confident that joining forces with this world-class player will result in outstanding and comprehensive solutions for the airport community.”

UFIS products and services offerings are complementary to the Amadeus Airport IT product set, bringing specific expertise in the areas of Airport Operational Databases, Resource Management Systems, Flight Information Display Systems, Collaborative Decision Making Tools, and Hub Management Solutions.

The majority of UFIS employees, including top management, are based in Singapore. The company has been providing integrated solutions for single, multi-terminal and multi-airport operations for the global airport community for more than two decades. UFIS Airport Solutions is an industry leader in enabling its customers to carry out collaborative airport management, an approach that perfectly fits Amadeus’s Airport IT strategy.

As a result of the transaction, approximately 54 employees globally, including the UFIS management team, will become part of Amadeus’s Airport IT Group.

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NEIL STEEDMAN has been a trade journalist, copywriter, editor and proofreader for 50 years, and News & Features Editor for ‘Irish Travel Trade News’ for the past 40 years.

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