CWT reveals trends and priorities for 2012: Travel managers continue to focus on cost control

Amsterdam | January 24, 2012

Carlson Wagonlit Travel (CWT), a global leader specialized in managing business travel and meetings and events, today published its Travel Management Priorities for 2012 report, based on an international survey of 290 travel managers. The report highlights the main changes likely to affect travel programs and looks at global trends and differences between regions.

Travel managers’ top four priorities focus on cost control
The top four priorities for travel managers in 2012 concentrate on driving air and ground transport savings, improving travel compliance, optimizing hotel spend and online adoption. In an evolving market, these areas represent opportunities even for the most mature travel programs.  To achieve these objectives, travel managers use a wide range of measures, including improving communications on travel policy and compliance (previous CWT research shows that only 50% of travelers are familiar with their company’s travel policy), helping employees to better understand online booking processes, and mandating the use of preferred suppliers. Communication on preferred suppliers and booking channels will be particularly important as travelers use mobile applications more and more.

Travel managers’ priorities and planned measures vary according to region
CWT research pinpointed some variations in results, depending on the region in which travel managers are based. For example, travel managers in Asia Pacific place a greater focus on optimizing hotel spend compared to other regions, reflecting the challenges they face with particularly high occupancy rates in this market. With the number one priority for Europe, Middle East and Africa being air and ground transport savings, one of the measures travel managers are planning is managing the trade-offs between air and rail as high-speed rail networks expand. Travel managers in Latin America also accord the highest importance to driving air and ground savings. Meanwhile, North American travel managers cite traveler compliance—an ongoing challenge—as the number one priority.

In an uncertain economic environment, travel managers need to monitor changes closely to ensure they are getting the best deals from suppliers and the right performance from their travel program. The CWT report also highlights key market trends affecting travel programs worldwide in the coming year, such as the continued growth in travel spend for Asia Pacific, the increasing use of mobile solutions in business travel and the sharp uptake in a strategic approach to meetings management.

Quotes regarding Travel Management Priorities for 2012 attributable to Christophe Renard, VP CWT Strategic Marketing and Business Intelligence

“CWT is helping travel managers navigate through a difficult year by giving them access to recommendations on how to manage priorities such as cost control.”

  • “Top priorities vary slightly depending on the region covered by travel managers. Those responsible for North America, for example, accord more importance to helping travelers adhere to travel policy. Meanwhile, those responsible for Europe, Middle East and Asia or Latin America identify the same priorities as the total sample with a greater focus on driving air and ground savings.”
  •  “Global travel managers tend to identify and implement more measures to drive consolidation and standardization of the travel program, given their role as orchestrator of the travel program across the different regions.”
  •  “In 2012, moderate price increases are expected on the whole, with some stronger variations between countries and travel categories. This cautious market context is reflected in travel managers’ priorities, which focus largely on cost control in all regions.”

Quotes regarding 2012 Business Travel Trends attributable to Nick Vournakis, VP Global CWT Solutions Group

  • “I’m in touch with global clients on a daily basis – this study reflects their concerns and explains why we are seeing an increasing number of companies coming to us, across all practice areas, for advice on how to best organize their travel program and push their travel spend even lower.”  
  • “We are expecting the travel spend to be even more complex in 2012 – additional fees, surcharges and credit card booking fees charged by airlines and other suppliers are making it very difficult for buyers to efficiently and accurately compare the full cost of travel between suppliers.”

Please contact Natasha Harvey to arrange an interview with Christophe Renard or Nick Vournakis.

Related links

  • Travel Management Priorities for 2012
  • 2012 Business Travel Market Trends
  • Travel Management Priorities commented by Christophe Renard
  • Travel Management Priorities for 2011

Please contact Natasha Harvey for any comments, questions or feedback

CWT Global
Natasha Harvey
+011 33 1 41 33 62 34 (office)
+011 33 6 74 94 23 81(mobile)

About Carlson Wagonlit Travel
Carlson Wagonlit Travel (CWT) is a global leader specialized in managing business travel and meetings and events. CWT serves companies, government institutions and nongovernmental

organizations of all sizes in more than 150 countries and territories. By leveraging both the expertise of its people and leading-edge technology, CWT helps clients derive the greatest value from their travel program in terms of savings, service, security and sustainability. The company is also committed to providing best-in-class service and assistance to travelers. CWT services and solutions comprise Traveler & Transaction Services, Program Optimization, Safety & Security, Meetings & Events and Energy Services. In 2010, sales volume for wholly owned operations and joint ventures totaled US$24.3 billion. For more information about CWT, please visit our global website at

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