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August 10, 2010

European companies are holding more events overseas than in 2009

Business travel and meetings are back on the agenda, claims global travel specialists.

Carlson Wagonlit Travel (CWT) has seen a recovery in meetings and events-related business during 2010. In Europe, for example, the business travel management specialist revealed that its clients are organising 30% of their meetings outside of their home country, compared to 20% a year ago.

CWT reported that the most popular destinations among its clients in Europe so far this year have been Barcelona, Madrid, Nice, Paris and Rome. Also, average spend per participant per day is now at €175, up from €150 last year, while cancellations are down from 15% to 10%.

CWT president and chief executive officer Douglas Anderson notes that clients worldwide are increasingly looking to combine “savings with impact”. To that end, they are taking a more strategic approach to managing not only their business travel expenditure, but also their meetings and events spend. This includes the implementation of specific policies, consolidation of their internal teams and suppliers, optimised data management and analysis, and more effective processes and technology.

“Companies realise that meetings and events help move business forward. As a result, they want to maximise the return on their investment by driving savings, satisfaction and overall effectiveness,” he says.

Business in general is up for CWT this year, which handled nearly 29.4 million transactions during the first six months of this year, a 13.2% rise compared to the same period of 2009. Meanwhile, traffic totalled US$12.3 billion in value, up 16.6%.

Performance varied from one region to the next, with the greatest gains in traffic in Latin America (up 48.1%) and Asia Pacific (up 43.5%). In North America, traffic increased by 18.2%, while the Europe, Middle East and Africa region showed lower growth (7.7%), reflecting the slower economic recovery in the region.

Commenting on the figures, Anderson says: “Business travel is back on the corporate agenda, but if we compare figures for the first six months of this year to the first half of 2008, we can see traffic has not yet returned to pre-recessionary levels.

“Nonetheless, it is clear to us that companies fully understand the role business travel and meetings and events plays in helping them successfully reach their objectives. Today, as economic recovery continues, CWT is more committed than ever to providing efficient and innovative solutions that complement our clients’ business strategy.”

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