Cvent Travel Managers Report Reveals 60% Expect Budget Increase in 2024

20th Jun, 2024

Latest Cvent Corporate Travel Managers Report: Europe Edition highlights an optimistic bounce-back, with 83% positive about the current state of the sector.

Cvent has published its annual Cvent Travel Managers Report: Europe Edition. This is the most optimistic instalment to date, revealing positive expectations amongst the more than 600 respondents, which also support the Global Business Travel Association’s expectation that the industry will return to pre-pandemic levels this year, two years ahead of previous predications.  

Supporting these growth expectations, Cvent’s research reveals that 60% of UK and European travel managers anticipate an increase in their annual budgets this year. Among them, 23% believe their budgets will rise between 41% and 60%, reflecting significant confidence in the market. This confidence is further supported by the fact that 83% of respondents "feel positive about the state of business travel activity."

However, countering this positive outlook are the 62% of travel managers who expect higher business travel costs in 2024. The most anticipated areas of increased costs are airfares (expected to rise by 57%), hotel rooms (52%), and travel expenses and amenities (42%). Despite these concerns, travel managers are employing critical and creative thinking to find cost-saving opportunities. Specifically, 31% are timing business travel to coincide with meetings and events, 24% are negotiating lower rates in exchange for convenience and 22% are sourcing hotels across different brands and price scales.

The 2024 edition of the report is the first where just over half (51%) of respondents are millennials, with over a third (35%) having been in their roles for 6 - 10 years.  As the emerging and future leaders of the sector, the survey reveals that millennials are already more likely to hold sole responsibility for making decisions on business travel programmes (33% vs. 31%) or to be the primary decision maker who receives input from staff/management (29% vs. 27%). Additionally, millennials display a more positive outlook compared to their Gen X counterparts (85% vs. 82%) and express greater confidence in the increase of travel volumes (76% vs. 59%).

Graham Pope, Cvent Vice President of International Sales said: “This report is the most positive we have seen in recent years, buoyed in particular by the confidence shown by the millennial respondents and the fact that the corporate travel market has returned to pre-pandemic levels well ahead of original projections. Despite the ongoing headwinds of inflation and rising costs, it’s exciting to see that organisations continue to prioritise in-person interactions and that corporate travel managers expect their teams and budgets to grow – which we believe will help further accelerate the sector’s growth in the years ahead.”

Other report highlights 

  • Cost increases creating new strategies: With 62% expecting price rises across 2024, travel managers are taking new approaches. 40% are not automatically accepting previously used hotels and 27% are seeking flexible rate strategies. There are some challenges with hotel operators, as over half (55%) of respondents say that negotiations have become more difficult over the last five years.
  • Sustainability and DE&I continue to be factors: 29% confirmed that information about sustainability initiatives most influences their decision to submit an RFP, rising to 32% going forward.
  • Technology is vital for success: With the majority (81%) saying accommodation rates should be booked via a GDS (global distribution system) for corporate travel programmes. It is no surprise that technology is impacting all elements of the travel manager role. For example, 24% of respondents report an increase in time spent researching hotels using technology. This is not the only change to sourcing tactics; the most common (27%) is a switch to unconventional accommodation bookings such as boutique properties or home rentals.
  • A dual role: The trend for travel managers to support event managers or take on their role entirely continues throughout 2024, with 88% involved in sourcing hotels and venues for their organisation’s events programme. Additionally, 60% are sourcing them for larger company conferences.
  • Staffing set to increase: With 83% feeling positive about the state of the market but 21% believing their organisation is understaffed, 75% say they will be increasing headcount over the next three years.

Country specific highlights

  • Corporate travel managers who feel positive about the state of business travel rises from 83% overall to 91% in Spain and the Netherlands.
  • Respondents expect travel volumes to increase (69%), this rises to 76% in Spain.
  • Sourcing for conferences rises from 66% overall to 80% in the UK.
  • The 32% who say that comparing proposals is the hardest part of their role rises to 42% in France.
  • The 23% who say an added focus on wellness will shape their 2024 and 2025 priorities rises to 35% in Italy.

About the Study

In March 2024, Cvent partnered with Censuswide to survey over 600 corporate travel decision-makers in six countries: the UK, Germany, France, Spain, Italy and the Netherlands. The report provides hotels, venues and destinations with in-depth insights into corporate travel sourcing trends and activity. 

To view the full report, click here.

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