Numbers on the rise | European Business Travel News


When international borders reopened, many travel management companies and suppliers reported that it was small and medium-sized businesses that were the first to emerge from the blocks.

Even in the second quarter of 2022, business travel spending by SMEs remains well above that of large enterprises compared to pre-pandemic volumes.

American Express recently reported that travel and entertainment spending by its small and medium-sized business customers

Travel and Entertainment Spending with American Express Corporate Cards by the small and medium-sized business segment exceeded pre-Covid levels from the second quarter of 2019, the card provider said in its recent Q2 report. While such spending by large global corporations remains well below 2019 levels, it has nonetheless increased significantly from the first quarter, according to Amex.

Small and medium enterprises T&E expenses in the second quarter was 108% of 2019 levels, according to Amex. Spending on Amex corporate cards by the large corporate and global enterprise segment, meanwhile, was only 60% of what it was in the second quarter of 2019, although it was up from 38% in the first quarter of 2022. American Express Chief Financial Officer Jeff Campbell called the rise “a sign of a more meaningful recovery in business travel.”

“We don’t see demand in the T&E categories declining significantly anytime soon,” added American Express CEO Stephen Squeri, “based on the strength of future bookings from our consumer travel agency and trends from our partners in the travel industry. as Delta saw it, especially in the premium space.”

Total second-quarter spend on American Express corporate cards was $153.1 billion, up from $135.7 billion in the first quarter and up 28% year-over-year. Spending on T&E in the quarter was 26% of volume on all Amex cards globally, compared to 23% in the prior quarter. Spending on airlines accounted for 6% of all volume in the second quarter, compared to 5% in the first quarter.

Travel management companies also rated the performance of SMEs. The new public company American Express Global Business Travel reported that transactions between its SMB customers in the last three weeks of April had returned to 80% of 2019 levels, compared to just over 60% for large enterprises and 72 % for all customers.

And SME-focused Corporate Traveller, part of the Flight Center Travel Group, had a “best month on record” in March this year, signing 81 new customers, all of them SMEs, “supporting the claim that SMEs are key to the UK’s post-pandemic recovery, with a full return to business travel a sure reality for many businesses.”

The TMC says customers in the entertainment, sports and creative industries have not stopped traveling during the pandemic, while SMEs in finance, consulting, technology, manufacturing and engineering are currently among its biggest spenders. The main destinations for its UK-based SMEs are currently New York, Dubai, Amsterdam, Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Speaking on Hilton’s full-year 2021 earnings call, CEO Chris Nassetta noted that large corporate customers still lag far behind small and medium-sized businesses. He said: “We found that the large companies surprisingly disappeared, but SMEs were still more present than others. Why? Because their business requires them to be there.

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