VDR Business Travel Analysis

Business travel cost cutting potential exhausted

German companies have exhausted their potential for cutting business travel expenses. Budget airlines in particular have had their day as economisers. This is revealed in the tenth VDR Business Travel Analysis, which the German Business Travel Association (VDR) published on June 12, 2012 inBerlin. In addition to the figures released regularly each year on business travel cost structures and the positioning of travel management in companies, the anniversary edition contains information on such current market trends as sustainability, car sharing und mobile communication.

“The VDR Business Travel Analysis is an important market research tool. In combination with the future workshop VDR-TrendsPort it is the ideal instrument for market participants to scrutinise their own strategy and set themselves up properly for the future,” says VDR President Dirk Gerdom. “The new study proves yet again that business travel is a sensitive barometer of economic activity inGermany.”

In line with economic trends as a whole, the business travel market in 2011 developed positively. The number of business trips in firms with ten and more employees jumped 5.9 percent to 163.9 million, returning for the first time to the pre-crisis year 2008 level. Meanwhile, overall costs edged up only marginally by 3.1 percent to EUR 44.8 billion. As in previous years, they were distributed equally among the various cost sectors air travel, accommodation, rail travel, board, other expenses and car hire.

Day trips account for more than half (54.5 percent) of business travel, the highest proportion ever. Business travellers spend an average of EUR 148 per day – twice as much as leisure travellers. “During the week and at conference and trade fair times business travellers therefore generate high turnover, with which they indirectly subsidise leisure-friendly pricing on weekends,” says Daniela Schade, a member of the VDR’s Board of Directors.

Nine out of ten business travel managers polled consider their cost cutting potential to have been fully exploited. “Companies have honed their skills in the management of travel expenses to such an extent that they have come to the end of the road in many respects,” Dirk Gerdom explains. In comparison to 2006 low cost airlines have lost most favour as an effective cost-reduction tool. These days travel managers are deliberately reducing expenditure through price comparison, budget compliance and stringent controlling.

Nine out of ten firms fear that reducing their travel activity too drastically would cost them revenues. They estimate that cutting business travel by half would lead to a loss of turnover by as much as 50 percent and more.

For 2013 more than one in three respondents predict rising demand in the hotel (32 percent) and air travel (35 percent) segments. 53 percent of firms expect to be able to integrate mobile communication in the next five years, from planning to invoicing. Although a third (34.5 percent) of large companies with more than 500 employees is already engaging with the issue of sustainability in business travel, CO² emissions calculation and compensation is not yet widespread. This is because it is seen as too involved.

For further information and to download the VDR Business Travel Analysis 2012, visit