Travel Leaders unveiled the top business travel trends for 2010 based on findings from their annual Travel Trends Survey. The survey shows 67 percent of Travel Leaders’ business-focused travel agents are forecasting that business travel for 2010 will match or exceed their total bookings for last year.
Conducted November 30-December 18, 2009, these business travel trends are based on responses from 227 Travel Leaders owners, managers and frontline travel experts throughout the United States and comparables to the overall national results of 521 Travel Leaders experts are included.
“Because business travelers make up a very significant segment of Travel Leaders’ overall mix of bookings, we dived deeper into our annual roll-up results for both corporate and leisure travelers to specifically examine what 2010 has in store for business travel in particular,” stated Roger E. Block, president of Travel Leaders Franchise Group, which includes hundreds of locations nationwide. “We’re seeing that business travel clients continue to book the same level of hotel accommodations as in the past, but we’re also seeing a noteworthy percentage of Travel Leaders business travel experts indicating a fair number of their clients are now starting to fly in business or in first class, signifying that some business clients are starting to loosen their travel policies. That being said, many clients are still opting for economy class airline tickets as they seek to maximize value at every turn.”
Anticipated Level of Business Travel in 2010
When Travel Leaders business travel experts were asked, “What have your business travel clients indicated in terms of either actual bookings and/or client feedback as to the amount of travel they anticipate for 2010 compared to 2009?” 38.3 percent said booking levels would remain on par with 2009, 28.6 percent said that booking levels would increase in 2010, and only 11.9 percent indicated that they expected a further decline.
First/Business Class vs. Coach
When asked to provide the percentage of business clients who are purchasing first class tickets, over a third (35.2 percent) of Travel Leaders business travel experts indicated that 11 percent or more of their bookings are in first or business class. Another 53.7 percent indicated that 1-10 percent of their clientele is flying “up front.”
When asked if business travel clients were trading up on hotel reservations to take advantage of the great values/deals available, trading down because of budget constraints or bookings the same hotel category, the vast majority indicated that their clients were booking the same category of hotel accommodations (71.8 percent), while 17.2 percent indicated that business travel clients were actually trading up.
Over 90 percent of Travel Leaders’ business travel experts indicated their clients make reservations two weeks or less prior to their travel date for domestic trips (the top response was one week at 44.5 percent, followed by two weeks at 24.2 percent and less than one week at 21.6 percent). That compares with the 54.5 percent of Travel Leaders leisure travel experts who said their clients make reservations eight or more weeks prior to their travel date for domestic trips.
Nearly 73 percent of Travel Leaders’ business travel experts said their clients make reservations 1-3 weeks prior to their travel date (the top response was two weeks at 31.3 percent, followed by three weeks at 22.5 percent and one week at 18.9 percent). That contrasts with 90.8 percent of Travel Leaders’ leisure agents, who say their customers make reservations eight or more weeks in advance of their trip.