Corporate travel budgets are flat for 2004, according to WorldTravel BTI. The Atlanta-based corporate travel management company's 2003 client survey showed that 62 percent of 127 respondents plan no significant travel budget changes for 2004, and the remaining 38 percent plan changes of only -10 percent to +10 percent.

In 2003, telephone and videoconferencing were cited as the top travel alternatives for companies indicating a decrease in travel budget. And almost half of the respondents (42 percent) adjusted their company travel policies. Security procedure enhancements led the policy changes.

For 2004, two out of three respondents (68 percent) expect no change to their company travel program, while the remaining third are planning significant changes, the most popular including mandated and increased use of online booking tools, required use of preferred vendors, and implementation of online expense management tools.

According to Danny Hood, president, WorldTravel BTI, the corporate travel industry will see an upswing in 2004. “While we will see an increase in passenger traffic,” he said, “companies will be smart and cautious about their travel spending.” He adds that face-to-face meetings will reclaim their status as the preferred way of doing business.