Despite rising client activity, Hogg Robinson Group expects profits to fall during its current fiscal year,
according to an interim management statement. Client activity increased 5 percent year over year during the April-June reporting period while client spending dipped 3 percent (but grew 5 percent at constant currency). HRG's revenues declined 6 percent during the three months (but edged upward 1 percent at constant currency). The company cited several factors for deteriorated financial performance, including slower-than-expected trading activity with the government of Canada, an account it picked up last year
; growing client adoption of self-booking, which incurs lower transaction fees; "strong competitor pricing"; and weakness in Asia and in Continental Europe's SME market. "During the remainder of the year we will address the balance of costs versus revenues," according to a statement from HRG chief executive David Radcliffe. "It is unlikely that the associated benefits will fully offset the fall in first-half earnings, but we expect the full-year earnings impact to be significantly less than in the first half."
High-speed rail operator Eurostar reported a 6 percent increase in business travel bookings during the first half of 2014 versus the prior-year period.
Total passenger numbers rose 2 percent to 5 million while sales revenue edged upward 0.5 percent (or 2 percent at constant currency) to £456 million (US$776 million). Following a second quarter that brought challenges to leisure demand in particular, "we are now beginning to see a more benign trading environment with encouraging signs of economic stability in France as well as the U.K.," according to a statement from Eurostar chief executive Nicolas Petrovic. "These more favorable conditions have helped deliver strong growth in business travel across our markets." He added that "the return to more normal levels of growth" for the company that links the United Kingdom to Continental Europe "reflects signs of greater stability in the Eurozone economies."
Egencia announced five new alliance partners and launched online services in the Czech Republic.
New Egencia Global Alliance members added this year include Orbit Corporate Travel in New Zealand; Montevideo-based Viajes y Turismo; OK Voyage in Algiers; Giza, Egypt-based Travco Group International and Al Tayer Travel headquartered in Dubai. Meanwhile, in the Czech Republic, partner Business Travel Unlimited's offline services now integrate with Egencia's online booking system.
The number of international airline passengers traveling in premium-class seats in May increased 6.5 percent year over year,
according to the International Air Transport Association. IATA noted that the increase was "significantly stronger" than April's year-over-year growth rate of 3.8 percent and that "demand conditions appear to be picking up again, after signs of wavering during recent past months." Growth was strongest on mid-Atlantic routes (up 20.1 percent year over year) as well as most routes connecting to the Middle East. Premium traffic on the heavily traveled North Atlantic route was up 10.3 percent year over year, IATA reported.