China-based companies see opportunities despite ongoing global uncertainty
More than half (55%) of China-based companies believe the country’s Belt and Road initiative is creating opportunities for business travel, according to the CITS American Express Global Business Travel’s 2019 China Business Travel Barometer.
In addition, a significant number of these companies say they are pursuing business opportunities in Southeast Asia to offset any negative effects caused by prevailing economic uncertainty, such as US-China trade frictions (44%).
Almost a quarter of survey respondents said they expect travel budgets to increase in 2020, while 71% anticipate operating with the same level of investment, suggesting China-based companies remain relatively optimistic about the business travel environment.
Managing travel costs and policy compliance remain top of mind for companies, with 68% of respondents considering increased attention on costs and 55% increasing investment in compliance.
Respondents anticipate increasing employee satisfaction (60%) and environmental sustainability (58%) to be equally pressing issues for their organizations. This shows a major shift in thinking as you would expect these areas to receive less investment and focus, especially when faced with a globally tougher environment.
According to the Barometer, more companies are thinking about consolidating bookings under one travel management company (TMC). Respondents say this shift is driven by a desire for simplification and consolidation (65%), cost optimization (63%), heightened transparency and improved compliance (58%).
Currently, only a quarter of companies surveyed use a single agency to manage all business travel, with 70% of companies using between two to four TMCs.
A large portion of companies surveyed in the Barometer say the development of business and trade within Asia Pacific (50%) and within China (36%) were key contributors to growth in meetings and events activity.