European Managed Travel: Growth Returns but Austerity Here to Stay

European Managed Travel: Growth Returns but Austerity Here to Stay

Travelport has released new research into the European managed travel sector. Findings from the PhoCusWright study reveal European growth, tighter use of corporate policy, and significant changes in consumer behaviour. Travelport has also appointed Duncan Barraclough as Head of Online Travel Agencies for Western Europe.

The research concludes that austerity measures are here long-term as corporations drive for higher levels of compliance, enforcing a reduction in premium class travel and utilising preferred suppliers.

A new breed of consumers is emerging, demanding more online access to travel bookings. This younger generation of corporate travellers is increasingly using mobile technology to shop, look, amend and book on the move. Mobile bookings are expected to gain traction in 2013 and beyond.

The research confirms growth in European managed travel:

  • Total European travel sector grew to €218 billion, up 3.9%
  • Managed European travel sector climbed to €38.9 billion, up 4.4%
  • By 2014, Europe’s total travel sector is projected to reach €230 billion
  • For online TMCs, bookings are expected to increase by 16% in 2013 and by 13% in 2014

Against a backdrop of austerity, European low-cost carriers are expanding their networks while some full-service carriers are contracting. Rail, with often comparatively lower cost fares, has also benefited, capturing 50%+ share from air for journeys up to 3.5 hours.

Sinead Reilly, Country Manager Ireland

“The Irish travel industry is well aware of austerity and how it has affected business,” said Sinead Reilly, Travelport’s Country Manager Ireland. “To address the emerging trends on consumer behaviour we recommend all customers investigate mobile technologies. It’s an area of expertise for Travelport and we are actively working to advise our customers about their options.”

“A growing demand for managed travel, mobile booking capability and a closer eye on corporate spend brings opportunity for the GDS,” added Damiano Sabatino, Managing Director, Travelport Western Europe. “Our recent launch of Travelport Merchandising Platform enables travellers to compare and book low-cost carriers and traditional carriers in a single screen and using the same booking processes for the first time. Eurostar content is also included and is attracting a high volume of corporate bookers.

“These insights endorse Travelport’s view that mobile technology continues to grow in importance for travellers. To meet this, we will be continuing to enhance our Travelport ViewTrip Mobile tool that allows travellers to update travel plans on the move.”

The full comprehensive analysis of the European Corporate travel market can be read here.

Duncan Barraclough, Head of OTA, Western Europe

Duncan Barraclough

Meanwhile, Travelport has appointed Duncan Barraclough as Head of Online Travel Agencies for Western Europe. He will lead Travelport’s Western European online account management and support team, working closely with online travel agency partners, and will report directly to Damiano Sabatino, Travelport’s VP and Managing Director for Western Europe.

Duncan joins Travelport from UK Fuels Group, where he held the position of Head of Online. He brings a wealth of experience from the online travel sector, having held a number of senior commercial positions in LateRooms, Travelsupermarket and MyTravel.

“Duncan is a seasoned industry professional able to quickly identify strategic opportunities for growth in the online sector,” said Damiano Sabatino. “The appointment marks our commitment to invest in the needs of customers in this sector. I am delighted to welcome him on board.”

Duncan said: “I am very excited to join the Travelport team. The company has been a long-standing partner within travel and we are looking forward to adding both value and innovation to the European online marketplace.”

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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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