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China to eclipse US in 2015 as world’s biggest corporate travel market

06/01/2015| 9:17:33 PM| 中文

A new study into the Asia-Pacific corporate travel market says that 2015 will be the year when businesses in China spend more on travel than those in the US.

A new study into the Asia-Pacific corporate travel market says that 2015 will be the year when businesses in China spend more on travel than those in the US.

Amadeus has linked up with Frost & Sullivan to produce the study.

China already spends $250 billion a year on corporate travel, and the study tips this to jump to $500 billion by 2025. It also says:

“By 2015, [China] will become the  world’s largest corporate travel market, knocking the United States from the top spot.”

The APAC region generally will see stellar growth in business travel – up from $400 billion  this year to $900 billion in 2025. Amadeus says that a lot of the growth will come from emerging South East  Asian markets such as Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia and the Philippines as well as the usual suspects China and India.

So with an extra $500 billion of spend to come over the next ten years, the opportunities for TMCs, airlines, hotels and their technology partners is vast. But there is also an opportunity for business looking to pick up “out-of-policy” travel spend.

Estimates vary about how much business travel is booked out of policy (assuming that there is a policy in place). Amadeus outlines the extent of out-of-policy bookings in the chart below. The numbers refer to how many out-of-policy trips were taken by every 100 travellers.

So it looks like India – where some 70% of travellers went out-of-policy at least once –  is the best target market for a business looking to attract out-of-policy travellers. Amadeus explains that as the business travel market matures in a country, compliance increases – hence Australia’s high proportion of model employees.

India is also leading the way when it comes to smartphone and tablet bookings, with Indian travellers the most likely in the region to book using a mobile device. China – obviously – is the world’s largest smart phone market although India will claim the number two spot from the US in 2016, the report claims.

So to be exact, it looks like India is the best market for a business looking to attract out-of-policy travellers with a mobile offering.

It’s just a shame that the Indian corporate travel market is relatively small – $25 billion this year growing to $60 billion by 2025.

Beyond mobile and smartphones, technology’s role in business travel is more than the simple “planning, shopping, booking” processes of leisure travel. People-tracking, expense management and data aggregation need to be part of the IT infrastracture.

Getting a total view of not only individual but also aggregated travel is important for TMCs and corporates on a number of levels. The report outlines these as ranging from securing the best deal with preferred suppliers to people-tracking.

But a total view relies on in-policy bookings, which is one reason why there is so much focus on getting travellers to do what they are told. It is an ever-present argument in business travel and shows no signs of going away.

Amadeus does offer a left-field suggestion about how to bring more APAC travellers into line:

“Companies with an effective user-generated content strategy can speed up the adoption of the self-booking tool and drive traffic to online and offline channels within the corporate  travel policy.”

It bases this on the finding that more than half APAC corporate travellers surveyed are posting feedback to general sites or the corporate intranet.  The most trusted source of advice comes from peers and colleagues rather than the general sites. If the reviews from peers and colleagues can be integrated into the booking tools, then lookers of the reviews might become bookers of the travel. In theory, at least.

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TAGS: coroprate travel | US | China
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