Over 45 percent of Travel Leaders Group’s business-focused travel agents indicate that their clientele will be traveling more in 2015 than last year, according to a business travel trends survey from Travel Leaders Group.
The survey notes this is an increase of over 7 percent from last year’s survey.
The findings also reveal the most valuable service is access to travel experts 24-hours a day, and that while delayed flights and limited airline seat availability are still the top travel concerns, an increasing issue is the ease of passing through security.
Conducted November 11 - December 8, 2014, the trends are based on responses from 429 Travel Leaders Group agents.
“We are heading into this new year with quite a bit of optimism about the potential increase in business travel compared to 2014. Even so, we continue to focus on additional opportunities to assist our clients and travelers,” stated Travel Leaders Group CEO Barry Liben.
“Ancillary fees for items such as changing flights, upgraded or premium airline seats, and for airline baggage continue to be the most frequently encountered by our business travelers," Liben said.
"Because of that, it’s no wonder that ‘tracking and using nonrefundable tickets’ is among the most valuable services our agents have indicated they provide to our clients – in addition to 24-hour service and the ability to assist clients with ‘waivers and favors’ during extenuating travel circumstances," according to Liben.
Business travelers face plenty of challenges, noted David Holyoke, president of Travel Leaders Corporate. He said there was an increase in clients willing to complete the application and interview process for the TSA PreCheck program, in order to expedite part of their overall travel experience. More and more airports and airlines are participating in the program, he said.
Anticipated Level of Business Travel in 2015: Booking levels will increase compared to last yea, but 34 percent believe booking levels will remain on par with last year.
Top Business Travel Concerns: Delayed flights, limited airline seat availability, ease of passing through security, earning frequent flyer/loyalty points and travel costs were top concerns.
Most Valuable Services: Having instant access to an expert to assist travelers before, during and after a trip,was the most prized service, followed by 24-hour service, waivers and favors and tracking and using nonrefundable tickets.
Ancillary Fees: Managing business travel budgets is more complex than just identifying the cost of airline tickets, hotel night stays and car rentals the survey notes. There is an ever-increasing amount of ancillary fees, including:
-Airline fees for changing flights
-Airline fees for seat assignments (upgrade and/or premium seat)
-Airline fees for baggage
-Hotel fee for Internet
-Hotel “resort” fee
-Hotel fees for parking
-Airline fees for Internet
-Car rental fees for one-way rental drop-offs
-Hotel fees for early check-in/late check-out
-Car rental fees for tolls
Corporate Policy for Domestic “Front of the Plane” Travel: Flying in First and Business Class domestically (U.S.) the top responses were: “Only executives may select First or Business Class on all flights” (29.8%), “Never allowed on domestic flights” (27.7%), and “Only executives for flights over 5 hours” (17.2%).
TSA PreCheck: More than 22 percent indicated that a majority of their business travel clients are approved for TSA PreCheck and over 23 percent said that between 41-50 percent of their corporate travel clients are TSA PreCheck approved.