Wagonlit Travel thus far in 2012 has seen narrowly positive travel activity
among client programs and it expects about the same for the remainder of the
year. President and CEO Doug Anderson said that while companies individually
continue to perform well and maintain growth strategies, the shadow of eurozone
economic anxiety and lessons from the last recession demand caution.
majority of our clients tell us they expect to spend as much on travel [this
year] as they did in 2011, or perhaps spend a little more," Anderson told BTN. "But as we learned in
2008-2009, those decisions can change very quickly."
the first six weeks of 2012, CWT saw "very low-single-digit growth"
in global travel transactions, Anderson said, and the travel management company
expects that to continue. "It's going to be hard to grow the business at
the levels we grew in 2011," he said. "It's going to be a more
challenging environment," though growth in the "mid- to
high-teens" can be expected in Asia/Pacific's and Latin America's emerging
for 2011 reported "record" figures, including a 15 percent
year-over-year jump in sales volume to $28 billion and a 7 percent increase in
managed transactions to nearly 62 million.
now, Anderson explained, "the implications of some sort of a collapse in
the eurozone are so significant that there is just generally concern that
something of a significant nature may happen. It's a pessimistic feeling, but
when you look at individual businesses, things are not going all that badly. At
a micro level, decisions are being made to keep driving business, keep driving
growth and generate earnings, but when you get to the macro level and read the
front page of the newspaper every day, there is plenty to worry about."
said he also doesn't expect much growth in premium bookings this year. After
significant reductions in late 2008 and 2009, "most of the
business-class travel, at least in percentage terms, had come back by the first
half of last year," he said. "I am hoping and expecting that there
won't be any significant movement down."
For 2012, CWT also reported
growth for the CWT Solutions Group consultancy, driven by travel program
consolidation trends and more intense scrutiny of hotel costs. Anderson said
the TMC's clients late last year identified the hotel category as a top-three
priority and noted that Solutions Group is investing in "both technology
and people" to support buyers' hotel requests for proposals.