Buyers head into 2018 facing continued pressure to cut costs

A Business Travel Show survey has revealed that buyers expect the continued pressure to cut costs while maintaining quality to be the biggest issue to impact them in 2018.

The poll of 243 business travel buyers asked,What is the biggest issue facing you over the next 12 months?” Cutting costs reigns top of the list for the third consecutive year, followed by an increased focus on duty of care for the second time in a row.

In third place (up five from last year) is rising hotel rates and, more specifically, availability. Rising airfares is at number six, a drop of three positions. Brexit – a new entry on the table in 2017 – features again in fourth place. Enforcing compliance continues to freefall down the table, from second place in 2016, to fifth last year and seventh for 2018. Unsurprisingly, GDPR – which comes into force next May – features on the list for the first time in tenth place.

“It’s not surprising to see cost cutting and duty of care as the top two challenges facing buyers over the next 12 months, especially given the recent spate of terrorist attacks across Europe and further afield; it’s simply not an opportunity for buyers to ignore traveller risk anymore, it must be a priority for them, their organisations and their partners,” said David Chapple, Business Travel Show event director.

“Buyers have been so vocal about the debate around hotel availability this year that it was also not unexpected to see the issue around hotel rates rate so highly. But I was a little surprised to see Brexit so high on the table, given that many people feel the initial instability it caused for corporate travel was short-lived and the after effects will remain somewhat of an unknown until March 2019 at the earliest.”

  2018 2017 2016 2015 2014
1 Cutting costs while maintaining quality Cutting costs while maintaining quality Cutting costs while maintaining quality Rising airfares NDC
2 Increased focus on duty of care/traveller risk/terrorism     Increased focus on duty of care/traveller risk/terrorism     Enforcing compliance and engaging travellers Controlling costs and managing spend Travel management 2.0
3 Hotel pricing and availability Rising airfares GDS content Enforcing compliance Data
4 Brexit     Brexit Risk management vs cost savings  Increased hotel rates Sustainability
5 Keeping up with technology/managing disconnected technology/mobile apps        Enforcing compliance and engaging travellers Rising hotel rates Traveller safety Meetings management
6 Rising airfares     Price variations between booking channels Rising airfares Cost savings Mobile apps
7 Enforcing compliance and engaging travellers Global TMC integration Supplier negotiations Ancillary fees Technological developments
8 Distribution, including NDC Rising hotel rates Securing value for money The role of the TMC Free Wi-Fi in hotels and on airlines
9 The weakness of sterling/strength of Euro Cutting costs while maintaining compliance Online adoption/booking Online adoption CSR
10 Data including GDPR, implementing it and policing third party use Data and how to use it Mobile apps Cost increases Terrorism


Additionally, when asked the follow up question, “What will the biggest change in the way you buy/manage travel in the next 12 months be?” buyers responded as follows.

  1. No change            
  2. Increased use of technology         
  3. Change TMC        
  4. Increased online bookings
  5. Increased compliance
  6. Brexit
  7. Pressure to reduce costs                 
  8. Engage a TMC
  9. Direct bookings
  10. Consolidate suppliers
  11. Value for money
  12. Find a new travel and expense tool
  13. Increased focus on safety
  14. Reduce travel
  15. Managing with a reduced budget

The Business Travel Show is the leading event in Europe for corporate travel professionals, taking place 21-22 February 2018 at Olympia London. Buyers can register for a free visitor pass at Buyers with a minimum annual spend of £1 million can also apply to attend as a hosted buyer at


Details about buyers who answered the Business Travel Show survey 2017

*243 travel buyers took part in the seventh Business Travel Show annual survey in November 2017 with responsibility for managing travel across one or more territories, as outlined below.

UK – 67%
Rest of Europe – 32%
Outside Europe – 24%

Respondents’ travel budget:

Under £150k                                       30%

£151k – £500k                                     16%

£501k – £1m                                        10%

£1m – £3m                                           12%

£3m – £10m                                         12%

£10m – £20m                                       7%

More than £20 m                                 12%

Number of travellers responsible for:

Fewer than 50                                      31%

51-100                                                 15%

101-500                                               10%

501-1000                                             7%

1001-2500                                           18%

More than 2500                                  18%

NA                                                       11%

Online visitor registration is now open for the Business Travel Show at


Travel Manager is media partner’s Business Travel Show for third year in a row

The Business Travel Show, held annually in London for 24 years, is Europe’s largest specialised exhibition and conference bringing together over 7,500 European travel professionals. This long established and reputable event provides business travel buyers and managers with the suppliers, knowledge and contacts to help create and develop successful travel programmes.

It is the major event in Europe where travel buyers and managers can evaluate thousands of products and services from over 270 global travel brands to innovative start-up companies covering air, accommodation, travel management and expenses to traveller services, technology and duty of care.

Running alongside the exhibition is Europe’s largest conference programme designed to meet knowledge requirements of beginners through to experienced travel buyers. Independently produced and supported by 175 expert speakers, the 60 topical sessions cover the full spectrum of travel management facilitating peer to peer learning and debate to enable buyers to understand how to buy and manage travel better.

The Business Travel Show provides the opportunity to meet with over 7,500 professionals from across the European business travel community. From peer-to-peer and supplier networking sessions to informal social events, the event allows attendees to build new relationships and to share knowledge and best practice.