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Business travel transactions through travel management
companies in the United Kingdom shot up 12 percent in the second quarter of
2010, according to figures released on Tuesday by the Guild of Travel
Despite the ash crisis and a lengthy strike by British
Airways cabin crew, air bookings jumped 13 percent. GTMC members handle 6
million air bookings and 5 million other transactions annually in the United
Kingdom, which the organization claims accounts for 80 percent of the country's
business travel spend.
Hotel bookings rose a rather more modest 7 percent, implying
that that British TMCs continue to lose hotel business to hotel booking
agencies and unmanaged booking channels. All other categories were up by
double-digit percentages, with rail transactions up 16 percent, although GTMC
said that average ticket prices for rail are down.
"The growth in transactions has not been matched by a
growth in revenues, with a general move out of first class and a noticeable
reduction in public sector spend," it said in a statement.
Also up by 11 percent were car rental bookings, following
two years of sharp decline until the category stabilized with a 1 percent rise
in the first quarter of 2010. GTMC attributed the reversal in fortune to the
GTMC transactions increased in all categories in the first quarter
but in each case the rate of growth accelerated considerably in the second
"The survey of transactions by GTMC members shows
clearly that the recovery, no matter how fragile, is under way for UK Plc,"
said chief executive Anne Godfrey. "The results are particularly
encouraging when you factor in the truly exceptional items of the ash crisis
and industrial action."