Chinese appetite for business travel going strongS Puvaneswary, reporting from IT&CM China, Shanghai, April 18, 2013
INTERNATIONAL and domestic corporate travel in China is on the rise, as companies' travel budgets are buoyed by strong business takings.
Jiqin Fang, vice president and CEO of TMC Ctrip Computer Technology (Shanghai), said year-on-year budgets have increased by 10 to 15 per cent for both MNCs and local firms as corporate travel policies improve in tandem with business expansion.
Robin Han Bin, director of sales – Greater China, Radius Global Travel Solutions, saw stronger year-on-year growth in travel budgets from domestic companies ranging from 10-15 per cent compared with MNCs at between seven and 10 per cent.
He said: “Face-to-face contact is very important for business in China. Clients need to see your eyes and that you are smiling. First-time meetings are very important in building relationships.”
The World Travel & Tourism Council's 2013 business travel forecast for the Asia-Pacific region suggested likewise: in China, sales conversion with in-person meetings was 57 per cent. The share of sales dependent on business travel was 38 per cent, as compared to 21 per cent in the US and 28 per cent in the UK.
US-based Ingredion's global procurement travel and fleet, Bhart Sarin, noted that outbound business travel from China was mostly to Asian countries.
According to Sarin, business travel spend had grown 10 per cent year-on-year, correlated with the increase in volume of meetings and number of staff attending the meetings.
Companies are also willing to hold their events at affordable destinations beyond China like Thailand and Malaysia. Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts' Shanghai-based regional account director, Sita Zhang, said she had received enquiries about Shangri-La’s rates for these destinations over first-tier Chinese cities.
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