Business travel trends Revealed in Travel Leaders Group Survey
“Company policy” now has almost as much influence as “cost” in whether or not business travelers will be flying in the “front of the plane,” according to the latest survey data provided by Travel Leaders Group, one of North America’s largest travel companies – encompassing nearly one-third of all travel agents – and generates gross travel sales of nearly $17 billion.
Also new in this survey, a majority of business travel agents indicate their clients are selecting either “luxury” or “upper upscale” hotel properties and, if renting a car while on business, the overwhelmingly preferred choice is a midsized car. In analyzing year-over-year business travel bookings, 80.3% of those surveyed indicate their bookings are on par or better than last year at this time – in 2011 that figure was 83.5%, indicating a slight softening in the marketplace.
First/Business Class vs. Coach
When asked “For your 2012 year-to-date business travel air bookings, what percentage of clients are purchasing ‘front of the cabin’?” it appears the numbers have softened slightly compared to when Travel Leaders agents were asked this question heading into 2012.
Hotel Bookings for Business Travel
When asked “What percentage of your business travel clients add a hotel reservation to their travel itinerary?” a majority (63.8%) of Travel Leaders Group agents report that more than half of their clients request a hotel booking in addition to their airline reservation; while 28.4% state that between 20-50% of their business travel clients require a hotel booking in addition to their airfare.
When asked “Which hotel category would you say the majority of your business travel clients book?” 55.0% of Travel Leaders Group agents state the “Luxury” and “Upper Upscale” categories, while 39.3% indicate “Upscale” and “Upper Midscale” categories.
Car Rentals for Business Travel Leaders
When asked “What percentage of your business travel clients add a car rental reservation to their travel itinerary?” a majority (55.1%) of Travel Leaders Group agents report that more than half of their clients request a car rental in addition to their airline reservation; while 33.1% state that between 20-50% of their business travel clients require a rental car in addition to their airfare.
When asked “Which rental car category would you say the majority of your business travel clients book? 79.2% of agents say “Midsize,” while 14.4% indicate “Full size.”
When asked for their personal outlook on their business for the remainder of 2012, an overwhelming majority (92.6%) of travel agents are either positive or neutral.
This data on business travel is based on responses from 269 U.S.-based travel agency owners, managers and frontline travel agents who indicated that 50% or more of their portfolio is made up of business travelers. These results are part of the larger 2012 Fall Travel Trends Survey conducted by Travel Leaders Group from July 30 – August 23, 2012, in which 871 travel agent experts participated.
“We are now heading into the fourth quarter of the year and there are still some important issues looming – be it the economic situation in Europe or the upcoming elections in this country – and all of that has a domino effect within the realm of business travel. There is no question we are a global society,” stated Travel Leaders Group CEO Barry Liben. “That being said, it has still been a solid year for business travel, as indicated by over 80% of our business travel agents stating that their corporate travel bookings are equal to or higher than last year. It is also apparent by our survey findings that a significant segment of business travelers are opting for higher-end hotel stays while they are on the road. That is good for both our business and the overall economy.”