Five major corporate travel trends in Asia PacificNews / OnlineBy Karthick Prabu | October 2, 2013Share This article was originally published on Abacus surveyed its travel management companies (TMCs) and corporate travel agencies (CTAs) to identify various trends in corporate travel in the Asia Pacific market. Five key trends that seem to have high business impact in the next two to three years are listed below: Trend 1: Belt tightening measures in corporate travel policy 97% of respondents have received instructions to further tighten corporate travel policies. There is no relaxation of the rules in sight, despite the more favourable economic outlook acknowledged by all. 73% reported corporate clients implementing policies to decrease the number of business trips. Six in ten clients are extending economy class thresholds to reduce business class travel. 47% of travellers are also now encouraged to opt for lower-star accommodation. 43% of respondents felt that their role had recently shifted more in favour of corporate procurement.Trend 2: Opt for low cost carriers 73% of corporate clients have increased their preference to use low cost carriers. Other parameters in the policy include the flight time, booking channel, trip changes, etc. Ancillaries are viewed as making pricing and therefore price comparison harder for six in ten. These challenges are being addressed as the LCCs in the region increase their focus on building corporate channels, accessible through the trade.Trend 3: Corporate booking tool adoption 73% of corporate travel companies have implemented a corporate booking tool (CBT). 64% of respondents agreed that a good number of travellers wants to deal with travel management companies and agencies, with 55% perceiving business travel itineraries to be too complex a task to undertake themselves. Trend 4: Smartphones and tablets usage on the rise Over 83% of travel management companies and agencies felt that smartphones would have a moderate to significant impact on their business. Only 33% of those surveyed had implemented any mobile web or native applications for smartphones/tablets, leading with a simple mobile itinerary tool. Though the adoption rates of smartphones and tablets are high in Asia Pacific region, only four in ten enable flight and hotel bookings on mobile. 33% of corporate travel companies have created a mobile web or native mobile app for smartphones for corporate bookings. And, when it comes to tablets, just one in seven had created an app. Trend 5: Tracking secondary expenses becomes key Secondary expenses such as meals, car rentals, mobile data roaming are a rising concern for most companies. According to the Advito 2013 Industry Forecast, secondary expenses account for 18% of the travel budget in the US. The figure is lower in Asia Pacific at 10 to 14%. Tracking and managing secondary expenses is therefore a growing focus with corporate travel managers looking for the means to support their clients with value-add initiatives. Offering these services are considered as a competitive differentiation. Running into hundreds of thousands of dollars in receipts and countless man-hours of manual reconciliation, automated systems present a fresh opportunity for agents to support their clients. 30% of agencies now offer electronic expense management systems to their corporate clients to capture payments. NB: Corporate travel image via Shutterstock.