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Press releases

£1.3 BILLION WASTED ON UK BUSINESS TRIPS

1st Sep 2005


Research* released today by Travelodge, the UK's number one budget hotel brand, reveals that UK organisations are spending over 1.3 billion every year on unnecessary and extravagant business trips. A deeper analysis of the travel trends reveals booking budget accommodation, such as Travelodge, would reduce that expenditure by over 900 million.

With 84% of UK employees taking some 14 million** overnight domestic business trips each year, it's clear businesses still place a high value on face-to-face communication. Travelodge conducted this research in order to explore UK businesses' existing travel policies and highlight areas, such as accommodation, where a reduction in expenditure is both possible and beneficial.

The findings were alarming - UK businesses simply don't maintain financial control over employee business trips.

The wastage facts:
* Nearly half (48%) of all organisations never set a business trip budget. This figure rises to 59% when relating to small to medium businesses
* Over 40% of employees make their own individual business trip arrangements and claim that they can spend what they like on trips.
* An overwhelming 88% say they aren't influenced by cost
* Almost a third (30%) of 18-29 year olds exploit business trips as perks
* Only 12% of employees believe their organisations are interested in cost-cutting

This clear lack of control has left employees free to squander up to 1.3 billion of their employer's money every year.

UK businesses aren't helping themselves by not setting budgets and policy guidelines. For example, only one in ten (11%) companies have a policy enforcing the use of budget airlines, despite its widespread reputation today as a cost-effective means of travel. In addition, only 9% of UK employees will buy train tickets sufficiently far in advance to take advantage of APEX and Saver fares.

British businesses have least control when it comes to their employees' accommodation choices, making it the largest single drain on business travel budgets.

The biggest budget burden:
* Over a third (38%) of UK businesses regularly stay in extortionately priced 4 or 5 star hotels
* Only 11% of UK businesses spend less than 50 per night on accommodation
* Just 18% will stay in budget accommodation

According to Guy Parsons, Sales and Marketing Director for Travelodge, "The UK economy shouldn't have to take such an unbelievable financial hit. Businesses need to set smart spend guidelines to tell their employees that booking an outrageously priced 4 or 5 star hotel just isn't necessary, particularly when all that's needed is a bed for the night. Let's face it, all hotel rooms are the same with the lights off. We Brits are typically cautious with our personal finances and we should apply that same mentality to our spend at work."

"The good news is there are plenty of simple ways to reduce business trip costs today and we've published a guide on this at www.travelodge.co.uk.costcutter. One example is to encourage the use of budget accommodation. With the majority of organisations balking at the prospect of paying 250 for a domestic flight, it seems ludicrous to pay it for a hotel room. Travelodge offers clean, comfortable, centrally located accommodation and there's no compromise on quality, even though prices start from as little as 26. Booking budget would certainly address the issue of excessive spending; we calculated that if companies were to book Travelodge's 26 a night rooms, the saving among UK businesses would well exceed 900 million".

Federation of Small Businesses
The Federation of Small Businesses is circulating Travelodge's cost cutting guide among its members. Stephen Alambritis, Chief Spokesman, Federation Small Business, commented, "Business owners understand the importance of face-to-face meetings and consider personal contact with customers an essential part of generating new sales. But well run firms control the cost of business travel, setting budgets for both transport and accommodation. Controlling costs across the business underpins future growth and success."

Employees know what they want:
Results show that almost a fifth (23%) of employees would prefer to see the money companies can save on business trips going back into their salaries. Just under half (45%) would prefer to see the money going back into the business, emphasising that a few simple changes at a corporate level can positively benefit employees across the business.

Top tips for reducing business travel spend:
As the UK's number one budget hotel brand, Travelodge prides itself on being a low-cost operator. Given its 20 years in the business, Travelodge has a number of tips for businesses wanting to trim expenditure at www.travelodge.co.uk/costcutter. Ideas include:
* Set realistic travel budgets and policies
* Make travel arrangements well in advance to save money
* Book online where possible to make the most of reduced web-only rates
* Booking quality, centrally located budget accommodation can reduce costs
* Budget travel options should be regularly researched - is it necessary to travel and stay first class?

For more information about the research, please contact:
Jo Begbie
0121 521 6624
07841 725 053
jo.begbie@travelodge.co.uk

Note to Editors:

* YouGov conducted the research during 23rd June and 5th July 2005. 739 UK businesses were interviewed.
The survey was carried out online. Results were weighted to be representative of UK businesses of all sizes.
YouGov is a member of the Market Research Society
YouGov is registered with the Information Commissioner
YouGov is a member of the British Polling Council
** Source: Mintel

About Travelodge
* As the first budget hotel brand to launch in the UK in 1985, Travelodge currently has approximately 274 sites across the UK with the majority in city centres, near attractions and airports

* The latest BDRC British Hotel Guest Survey (February 2005) named Travelodge as the joint number one hotel brand in the UK (with Hilton) and the number one budget brand.

* Travelodge offers double, family and disabled access rooms. A family room caters for two adults and two children, both under 16 years. All rooms are en-suite, with luxury king size beds, colour TV and free tea and coffee making facilities

* Book online at travelodge.co.uk to reserve a room starting from 26 (46 in Central London). Be sure to book early to get the best possible deal. The next best rate is available online or via the award-winning Travelodge Reservation Centre on 08700 850 950.

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