Deloitte says business travel up for 2011, 80% to hit the road more

Business travelers are back in 2011. At least, that’s what global professional services firm Deloitte is saying. After two years of corporate austerity, the business traveler is taking to the skies and road again, and this has to be great news for airlines and hotels, as it’s the corporate set that really brings in the cash they count on. The numbers look good for next year, according to this survey, which means a little more elbow room for the beleaguered tourism and travel industry.

The company surveyed 1,001 business travelers and found that 80 percent are expecting to take more trips than they did in 2010, with 79 percent forecasting that spending will be the same or higher. This follows gains in 2010, in which only 29 percent said they expected the full year to net out to a decline relative to 2009.

According to Adam Weissenberg, vice chairman and tourism, hospitality and leisure sector leader, Deloitte LLP, “The travel industry was not immune to the economic slowdown, but the confidence demonstrated by business travelers who responded to our survey suggests a brighter outlook for the industry as a whole.”
This follows a tough period for business travel. Deloitte noted in a statement:

Due to the recession, 72 percent of survey respondents had monitored their business travel expenses in various ways this past year. In particular, business travelers said they had cut back on overall travel costs (37 percent), reduced the duration of their trips (33 percent), or spent less on food/restaurants (32 percent). More than one in five (21 percent) booked less expensive hotel rooms.

Not only were belts tightening, but people were watching. Deloitte found that 59 percent of respondents indicated their companies were enforcing corporate travel policies more strictly. Fifty percent revealed that they have to get pre-trip approval for business travel, with 42 percent saying that “their company guidelines currently covered booking accommodations in advance.” Close to a third reported dollar limits on accommodations.