News For Planners

GBTA finds that business travelers to pay more attention to ancillary fees

Wednesday, 8/17/2011  4:34:35 PM

According to the recently released second Annual Corporate Travel Policy Benchmarking & Insight Study, conducted by a joint effort between the Global Business Travel Association Foundation and Egencia (a corporate travel extension of Expedia, Inc.), only 21 percent of businesses in Europe and North America are currently tracking their ancillary fees. That number is slated to triple in the coming months and years, with 41 percent of business who do not currently track these fees saying that they plan to do so in the future.

Ancillary fees are those pesky little add-ons that are becoming increasingly popular with airlines, especially in the wake of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) shutdown earlier this year, which have allegedly cost airlines billions in revenue. Things like baggage-check fees and last-minute changes in reservations, which used to be free or nominal, are now starting to really add up, for both business and personal travelers.

The Wall Street Cheat Sheet revealed that these newly upped fees have already amounted to $21.46 billion for the top 47 airlines in 2010 - a 775 percent increase over those collected in 2007. In that year, the 23 major airline giants collected a total of $2.45 billion in ancillary fees. It was the following year, with the onset of the economic recession, that airlines decided to double down on their fee policies - a practice that has since spiraled out of control and left more than one flight passenger griping about their subsequently empty pockets.

"GBTA Foundation research has shown that although business travel continues to rebound from its recession lows, it is growing at a much slower rate than we would like to see," said GBTA executive director and COO Michael W. McCormick. "The importance of a carefully managed travel program has never been more important. The 2010 study clearly established the effectiveness of travel policy to help organizations minimize corporate travel costs."

With this new information available, businesses are able to see where some of those unexpected expenses might be going. The information also allows meeting planners to prepare more realistic budgets for their business travel plans, which will hopefully put an end to surprise budget overages - an unpleasant occurrence for any business.

With business travel slowly rising for the first time since the recession hit, meeting planners and travel managers are expected to become even more integral to businesses. Companies who have never implemented a business travel plan are finding that these programs aren't a luxury - they're a necessity. 

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