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Travel Leaders Reports Improved Business Travel OutlookJanuary 18, 2011 By: George Dooley
More than three-fourths (76 percent) of Travel Leaders’ business-focused travel agents forecast business travel for 2011 will match or exceed their total bookings for last year, according to a new survey by Travel Leaders on business trends.
In addition, the survey revealed that nearly two-thirds (65.7%) of business travelers combine at least one business trip with a leisure or family trip. Travel Leaders also identified the top five reasons their clients book a particular hotel while on a business trip. A location convenient to one’s business meeting was the number one response.
"This year’s findings are quite positive and encouraging, particularly considering the number of Travel Leaders agents who said their level of business travel bookings will go up in 2011. Compared with their responses last year, 11.1 percent more of them are seeing year over year increases,” said Roger Block, president of Travel Leaders Franchise Group. “As encouraging as this data is, our agents are more committed than ever in counseling business travel clients on cost-savings measures and ‘return on investment,’ particularly the ROI they directly earn from the cost savings and cost avoidance initiatives that their Travel Leaders agents implement and drive.
"Thanks to a variety of proprietary tools, our Travel Leaders business travel agents have more resources than ever before to deliver exceptional ROI for business travel clients of all sizes."
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 2011 compared to 2010?” 39.7 percent said that booking levels would increase this year, 36.3 percent said booking levels would remain on par with 2010, and only 7.8 percent indicated there would be a decline. (Those percentages last year were 28.6%, 38.3%, and 11.9% respectively).
When asked, “What is most important to your business travel clients when choosing a hotel?” the top five selections were:
1. Location – near business meeting (82.8%),
2. Rewards program – frequent guest points (54.4%),
3. Free Wi Fi (31.4%),
4. Location – near airport (17.7%),
5. Free breakfast (13.2%).
(Survey participants were allowed to select up to three options.)
• Combining Business with Leisure – When asked if clients combine business travel with leisure or family trips, 65.7 percent indicated “Yes.”
• Changes in Company Travel Policy – When Travel Leaders experts were asked if they had “noticed a change in booking practices which require business travel clients to book their flights in advance,” 54 percent said “No” while 46 percent said “Yes.”
• Last Minute Flight Changes – When Travel Leaders experts were asked if they had “noticed a trend toward limiting last-minute or unnecessary flight changes,” the survey revealed:
o No, things come up and changes are necessary (60.8%)
o Yes, it only occasionally happens any more (33.8%)
o Yes, it very rarely happens any more (5.4%)
• First/Business Class vs. Coach – When asked to provide the percentage of business clients who are purchasing first class tickets, 31.8 percent of Travel Leaders business travel experts indicated that 11 percent or more of their bookings are in first or business class. Another 56.4 percent indicated that between one and 10 percent of their clientele is flying “up front.”
Conducted Nov. 3 – 30, 2010, these business travel trends were based on responses from 204 Travel Leaders owners, managers and frontline travel experts throughout the United States who identified that 50 percent or more of their portfolio consists of business travel clients. The business trends were part of a comprehensive travel trends survey which included responses from 547 Travel Leaders experts nationwide.